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Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

DPS buckling down on new seat belt laws

Monday, March 19, 2007

(Photo)
PSO Daniel Adams of the Sikeston DPS checks lap and shoulder belt positioning on Audra McMillen's booster seat while Sgt. Jim McMillen tells him what to check
(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Between the time a child outgrows their child safety seat and is ready to be buckled up like an adult, there is a stage many parents forget about: the booster seat.

Child safety seats or booster seats are required for all children until they reach age 8, 4 foot 9 inches in height or 80 pounds, according to state law.

Sikeston Department of Public Safety officers are currently conducting in service training in an effort to stay current with the latest changes in state law regarding child safety seats, according to DPS Director Drew Juden.

The new requirements for children under age 8, 4 foot 9 inches and 80 pounds to be placed in booster seats went into effect Aug. 28.

Remaining in effect along with the new requirements is the state law which requires children less than 40 pounds or under 4 years of age to be placed in a child safety seat.

With some booster seats accommodating children weighing up to 100 pounds, parents can choose to keep using them for their children as long as the specific seat allows.

Many small children are prematurely placed in an adult seat belt when they outgrow their child safety seat or at about 4 years of age. Research has proven, however, that belt positioning booster seats for children ages 4 to 8 reduce the risk of serious injury by 60 percent in motor vehicle accidents.

The booster seat positions a child so that the lap and shoulder belts fit the child more like they fit an adult.

The new booster seat requirement is a primary enforcement law. This means an occupant in a moving vehicle under age 16 who is not properly restrained can be the sole reason for a vehicle stop by law enforcement.

There are provisions of this law which state the judge may dismiss the infraction if the offender can provide evidence to the judge they have since purchased a child safety or booster seat.

It is recommended that children under 12 years of age be properly restrained in the back seat as this has been shown to be the safest place for children to be transported.

Parents who have technical questions are asked to visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov or www.seatcheck.org where they can find information and contact numbers for a passenger safety technician in their area.

Educating the public is the key to keeping children in this community safe, according to Juden.