In a move to reduce the number of pediatric injuries and deaths from motor vehicle crashes, Ohio became the 44th state in the United States to enact a Booster Seat Law in October of 2009. The new law mandates that children between the ages of 4 and 8 use a booster seat unless they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall. This expands upon the previous law which only required children to be buckled in car seats until they reached 4 years of age and 40 pounds.
According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, 89 children ages 4-8 were killed in motor vehicle crashes and more than 21,000 were injured statewide from 2002-2007. Children in this age group are often too big for car seats but too small for adult safety belts alone. Booster seats provide the best protection for these children.
“Seat belts are made for adults and do not fit young children correctly,” said Nichole Hodges, MPH, CHES, coordinator of the Home Safety Program at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “Booster seats raise children up so the adult seat belt fits them properly. This means the shoulder belt is across the shoulders and chest, not the neck, and the lap belt is low over the hip and thigh bones, not the belly.”
Law enforcement officers began to issue warnings for violations of the law in October of 2009. Now, after six months of warnings, drivers can be fined up to $75 for not having a child in a booster seat. This is the perfect time for parents to review Ohio’s Child Passenger Safety Law and make sure their children are in the proper restraints for their age, height, weight and development. Parents can locate a car seat technician to check their child’s seat by calling 1-866-SEATCHECK. If a booster seat is needed, one can be purchased for as little as $15 at many retail stores.
For more information, fact sheets about the Ohio Booster Seat Law and Ohio Child Passenger Safety Law are available in the Resources area of the Center for Injury Research and Policy’s website at http://www.injurycenter.org.
The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) works globally to reduce injury-related pediatric death and disabilities. With innovative research at its core, CIRP works to continually improve the scientific understanding of the epidemiology, biomechanics, prevention, acute treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. CIRP serves as a pioneer by translating cutting edge injury research into education, advocacy and advances in clinical care. For related injury prevention materials or to learn more about the Center for Injury Research and Policy go to http://www.injurycenter.org. While visiting our website, sign up for the RSS feed in the What’s New section of our media center to receive e-mail updates of our latest news.