This Friday, a new child passenger safety law goes into effect here in Colorado. Parents will be required to use booster seats with children who:
The current law is vague, and only requires that "children be restrained." The new la should really help break things down into concrete numbers for parents. That's really important, because booster seats are only effective if used properly.
Many parents are simply not sure how long children should stay in a booster seat. "I've heard anything from 4-6 years. Right now, he's three so not anytime soon (is it) gonna change him. So I guess we'll decide when he gets to be too big for the seat he's in," says parent Jennifer Smith.
Kim Nolen with the El Paso County Health Department says the new law answers parents questions. "Now, kids who are under the age of six over 40 pounds are required to be restrained in a booster seat until they're at least 55 inches tall," she says.
Nolen also says the booster seats give kids the lift they need so their seatbelt functions properly. "There are two kinds of booster seats. The first is a no-back booster seat. It costs between $20-$30. The other is a high-back booster seat, which runs between $30-$50. One is as effective as the other," she says.
Nolen says the top part of the seatbelt strap should run across the shoulder, not the neck. And the bottom belt should lie across the hips, not the belly.
Police will be keeping their eyes on drivers to make sure they comply. However, for the first year the law is in effect, they say they won't give out any tickets---just safety advice. "August 1st to next year---it's going to be a warning only for booster seat violations," says Sgt. Rob Wilson with the Colorado State Patrol.
The Safe Kids Coalition will be doing a safety seat check on Saturday, August 2nd from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Sky Sox Stadium. They can answer any questions you have and make sure your seat is installed properly.
Colorado Springs Safe Kids Coalition: 719-578-3254