ST. PAUL (WCCO) — A tougher law on child passenger safety has led to fewer injuries and an increase in people who use booster seats, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
The law, which came into effect July 2009, requires booster seats for children under the age of 8 or 4 feet, 9 inches tall, whichever comes first.
According to research from 2007-2009, before the law took effect, only 44 percent of booster-age children involved in crashes were riding in booster seats.
Since the law took effect, 59 percent of children involved in crashes were in boosters. DPS officials said the increase resulted in more than 250 children who were not injured in crashes because they were in booster seats.
“Booster seats are critical to a child’s safety in a vehicle,” said Heather Darby, DPS child passenger safety coordinator in a statement release Tuesday. “Safety should not be short-changed for our youngest and most vulnerable.”
The fine for a child not in a proper booster seat is $50, but it can cost more than $100 with administrative fees.
Darby said an indication that a seat belt does not fit a child properly, and a booster is needed, is if a child wraps the shoulder belt behind them to avoid the belt rubbing against their neck or crossing their face. Belts should be low and snug across the hips; shoulder straps should never be tucked under an arm or behind the back.
The DPS is continuing to promote booster seat use with a new public service announcement and “Dino Booster” Valentines, which can be downloaded by elementary school teachers, colored by children and given to their parents as a reminder to use a booster seat.
For more information on booster seats and while would be best for your child, click on the link below.