Child Car Seat Law Gets a Boost

Child restraint systems are intended to protect our most precious cargo from injury or death during vehicle collisions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends a four-step process as a child grows, starting with a rear-facing safety seat, followed by a forward-facing car seat, then a booster seat and, finally, an adult seat belt.

Knowing when it is time to graduate to the next step is based on age as well as height and weight.
Kentucky’s first child-restraint law requiring car seats for children 40 inches and under became effective in 1982. Over time, it became obvious that protections were inadequate for children ages 4 to 8 who were often too big for car seats, but too small for seat belts to be effective. In fact, more than 90 percent of 4- to 8-year-old children who were seriously injured in a crash were not restrained in a booster seat. In response, Kentucky passed a law in 2008 requiring that children younger than 7 and between 40 and 50 inches tall be secured in a booster seat. The law carried a penalty of $50 plus a mandatory $10 donation to the Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund.

Update: Expanded Booster Seat Law

An expansion to that booster seat law has now been passed by the state legislature and is expected to be signed into law by the governor. The bill increases the height requirement to 57 inches and the age requirement to 8 years old. The reasoning behind the bill is based on research showing that seat belts do not fit correctly on children shorter than 57 inches and can cause serious injuries in a vehicle collision. This improper fit can cause the lap belt portion of the safety belt to ride up over the child’s stomach and the shoulder belt portion to cut across the child’s neck, potentially exposing the child to serious internal or spinal cord injuries if involved in a wreck.
Booster seats lift the child up off the vehicle seat and properly position the seat belt over the strongest part of the child’s body—the hips and collarbone.
If you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with the Johnson Law Firm. We are ready to provide you with a free and confidential initial consultation. Contact us by calling 606-437-4488 or through our online form.

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