Last year (crazy how that was only a week ago) California required kids under age 6 or under 60 pounds to be seated in a child restraint seat (e.g. booster seat). Now in 2012, a new law changes this requirement to children under eight years of age, unless they are 4′ 9″ or tall, to be in booster seat in the back seat of your car.
As a parent, I appreciate that the state wants to keep my kids safe. Afterall, seat belts are designed for adults. This new law is interesting in that it takes away the weight parament and replaces it with height. Since my seven (and a half) year old son probably won’t weigh 80 pounds until sometime in Junior High, I’m glad that we’ve moved to the more important requirement of how the seat belt is positioned on his body. I’m guessing with the 4′ 9″ height requirement, these safety restraints are meant for adults taller than my grandma. The lap belt is supposed to cross the hip area, not lie across the tummy. The shoulder portion of the belt should lie across the chest, not hike up the neck (or as in my grandma’s case, tucked under her armpit. Without the booster seats my kids are simply not fully protected and the belt could do some major damage to their small bodies if not situated correctly.
But my former anti-establishment, anti-common-sense-laws PoliSci major me, has to wonder why we need these laws at all. And if we’ll ever get to the point where Snooki, who can’t possibly be 4′ 9″ without her 5″ stilletos, would be required to sit in a booster seat in California. My grandma weighs about 90 pounds and doesn’t meet the height requirement imposed on my child… Is it in her best interest to use a booster seat? Would these big brother laws ever go so far as to enforce it?
My husband says this is all a conspiracy with the car seat companies to make us buy more car seats. With a recommendation of changing your car seat every 5 years, this means even more car seat purchases in the future.
So tell me, are you happy about the new law? Have you received a ticket because your once over-the-weight or -over-the-age limit child is now forced back into a booster seat? Or do you think that enough is enough?