A ceremonial bill signing was held Monday for Kentucky's new, stricter vehicle booster seat law. But, enacting a new law doesn't guarantee parents will adhere to the stiffer guidelines.
The bill passed into law this year increased the height requirement to 57 inches and age standard to eight. Kentucky Children's Hospital Pediatrician Susan Pollack says car crashes remain the leading cause of death for children above age one in the state. She says one of the challenges will be to get kids to return to boosters. "The kids that are currently in boosters to stay in boosters longer is clearly the first way it's gonna work," said Pollack. "We're gonna have trouble getting kids out of boosters, back in boosters. Although if you want your child to be safe, that may be what you need to do."
Pollack, who has worked on booster seat measures for years, says a properly installed, belt-positioned booster seat lowers the risk of injury to children by nearly 60 percent, compared with seat belts alone. She says changes in the interior design of vehicles could someday play a factor in the issue. "Those children who are just on the border, and you can watch them, they may fit in some cars, but not other cars without booster seats," she said. "So, clearly the engineering of cars could make it at least much easier to get more children to fit."
Pollack says new challenges arise once children move out of boosters. "What I'm seeing in the middle school kids is that they put their shoulder belts behind them a lot and then they have no upper body protection, so they basically take themselves back to years where we had no shoulder belts," explained Pollack.