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Child safety seat law changes Jan. 1

Children must remain in booster seat until at least age 8
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When a new child safety seat law goes into effect Sunday, Jan. 1, children under 8 years old must remain in a booster seat in the back seat of a car.

Children age 8 or older who are still not tall enough for the seat belt to fit properly must ride in a booster or car seat. Previously, the law required that kids remain in a booster seat until the age of 6 or they weighed 60 pounds.

“This is an important new law that will impact more than 1.1 million children in California,” said Director of California Office of Traffic Safety Christopher Murphy, in a news release. “Keeping them in booster seats increases their chance of surviving a crash by 45 percent.”

A booster lifts the child up to make the adult-sized belt fit the smaller body. If the belt crosses the child’s stomach instead of hip bones, the child can be severely injured by the belt during a collision.

Most children impacted by the new law can remain in the booster seat they already have, according to the release. Low back boosters are available for $15 to $20 each.

For each child under 16 who is not properly secured, the driver can be ticketed for more than $475 and receive a violation point on his driving record.

The Roseville Fire Department has a firefighter trained at each station to check the proper installation of child safety seats. Drop by the station, and if that person is available, he or she will provide immediate assistance.

~ Sena Christian

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A child fits an adult seat belt when:
• He can sit against the vehicle seat back with his knees bent without slouching and can comfortably stay in this position throughout the trip
• The lap belt is low on the hips touching the upper thighs
• The shoulder belt crosses the chest, but is not on the face or neck
• Never let a child put the shoulder belt behind their arm or back. In a crash, the child could sustain major injuries including head and spinal cord injuries. If a child puts the shoulder belt behind them, this is a sign he still needs a booster.
For more information visit www.cdph.ca.gov/vosp or www.ots.ca.gov/child_passenger_safety.asp