Massachusetts: Booster Seat Law Goes Into Effect
New Massachusetts law requiring all children use booster seats until they turn eight years old goes into effect today.
Current rule requires children to use car safety seats until they turn 5 or weigh 40 pounds. After they turn 5 they start using adult seat belts, but this is not safe enough because children of that age are usually not big enough to match seat belts and the belts usually goes across child's midsection or neck.
This new law replaces child's weight requirement with height requirement to make sure that seat belt goes across child's waist and shoulder. Those who are not tall enough to match adult seat belts need to use booster seats. The law requires a child to be 4 feet 9 inches tall to start using seat belt without a seat booster.
According to State Police statistics car accident is the main cause of child death cases aged from 3 to 14. In Massachusetts only 69% of children are properly fitted with seat belts and safety seats, which is a very low percentage compared to 82% national average. Proper safety measures prevent about 50% of all serious injury cases occurring because of a car crash.
"This really is a booster seat law. It's covering that transition period between the child safety seats and the adult belts," said a State Police spokesman. "We're looking to make sure the kids in the Commonwealth are safe, that's our real goal."
This is why, earlier this year Massachusetts Governor approved this booster seat legislation to make sure that children are safe in cars. This law is also called 'primary enforcement law', meaning that police can stop your car if your baby is not securely sitting in your car and will require a $25 fine.