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.

Minnesota’s Child Passenger Safety Program

Comments (8)
  1. MnDaddyof3 says:

    If my 4 year old was in a booster seat when she was with my Wife during a roll-over accident, she would have suffered traumatic injuries. Because she was not, she escaped with a puzzled look as if to ask “what just happend?” No cuts, no bruises, no bumps. I was out of a booster at 4 years old. How many of you were FORCED to sit in a booster after turning 4? How many of you remember never even using one and bouncing around the car during family road trips? Passenger safety in crashes has come a LONG way. Look for the Youtube video of the 1959 Impala versus the 2009 Impala in crash tests. As each of my kids turns 4, the boosters disappear.

    1. Matt says:

      So you went back in time and tried the accident with your child in a booster seat and witnessed her traumatic injuries? I get a kick out of people saying “seat belts, child seats whatever would have hurt me more if I had them on!” Whatever!!! Wake up and smell the coffee! Is your child’s life worth gambling with? If you think so, then you you have issues! Also, that old Impala was a TANK! the new vehicles are built to perform with PROPER safety features in a crash, WITH them! I really hope your children outlive your poor lapse in judgement! They should not have to suffer because of you!

    2. Minnesota Gal says:

      I agree with you on that one MnDaddyof 3. We never used car seats, seat belts either. I remember riding on my mothers lap, while she drove. I feel that it should be up to the parents if they want their children in car seats. I feel the same way with seat belts, I never use one and i never will use one. I’m not hurting anyone but myself by not wearing a seat belt. So if i get pulled over for not wearing a seat belt and get a ticket, they can just keep pulling me over because i refuse to wear one.

      1. nancy says:

        you must have missed the article about the 25 year old woman who crashed her verhicle on the freeway in the metro area a couple of weeks ago. She was killed. Her 2 year old daughter was uninjured due to being buckled into a car seat. I worked on an ambulance service for many years. No question that seat belts resulted in less severe injuries or no injuries at all to both children and adults. Too bad we have to have laws for plain old common sense

  2. happy says:

    I would base it on weight and height alone rather than age.

  3. Matt says:

    only 59%??? That is sad! Seriously, you can these seats for FREE if you need to! No reason it’s not 100%! With everything going on in a person’s busy and hectic life, is it really to hard to take 30 seconds and make sure the children are properly buckled? Is it worth the gamble?

  4. Murph says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if you could order your new car with CHILD SEAT BELTS instead of the the aduklt kind! It might cut into the profits of municipalities and staes who enforce the fines.However,is it safety or some other reason why this option is not being offered.The time has come to question the established practises where it resides and what ever it hides behind.Profits over personal safety should not be the deciding factor! Think about the lives being tossed away by myopic CEO’s with massive incomes who should know there is an alternative to the status quo!

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