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Our Opinion: An important new law

December 30, 2001

Come Tuesday, a new law will go into effect increasing the age and weight standards requiring children to be placed in car safety or booster seats. The new law makes sense in that the longer children remain in such safety devices, the safer they will be.

The current law requires that children up to age 4 and weighing 40 pounds or less be placed in safety or booster seats. The new law increases the age so children up to age 6 or who weigh less than 60 pounds must be placed in such safety devices.

A 5-year-old weighing more than 60 pounds would not have to be placed in a safety seat or a booster seat, just as a 6-year-old weighing 57 pounds could be out of such seating. If a vehicle only has lap belts, booster seats are not required.

Still, the new law will make a difference and we urge parents and guardians to take note of the law and to follow it to the letter.


It is easy to ignore certain laws, particularly when we are in a rush. We speed every day. We rush through yellow lights every day. It is just a fact of life. It is for those reasons that car seats and boosters become even more critical. When it comes to the lives of our children, we cannot take risks. The new law is designed to save lives and it must be taken seriously.

If you're children are too old or heavy for a child seat, get the booster seat if they are under the age or weight of the new law. Boosters are important. Without the seats, a lap and shoulder belt may not cross your child's body at the proper points. A shoulder belt that crosses a child's face will not save the child's life. It may worsen the situation. Boosters make sure the belts cross the body where the child has strong bones that will protect the youngster.

You may think accidents will never happen to you. After all, you drive safely. You are cautious. You pay attention to what is going on around you.

Don't be overly confident. Accidents can happen to anyone. They happen every day. We see accident reports from the California Highway Patrol every day. People just like you and us are injured, and worse, killed in accidents.

Big Brother be darned. Any law that seeks to save the lives of children is a good law.

If you have questions contact your local police or the California Highway Patrol.

There is a lot at stake every time you get in your car with your children. Make sure you do everything you can to protect them.

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