Parents of young children are reminded that a new booster seat law goes into effect Oct. 7.
Under the new law, children ages 4 to 8 and under 4 feet, 9 inches tall, must be restrained in approved booster seats while riding in a motor vehicle. This new law expands on the current Ohio law, which requires children under the age of 4 and not more than 40 pounds be restrained in a car seat or booster seat.
According to statistics from the American Auto Association, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 4 to 8 in Ohio.
Although the law goes into effect next month, for the first six months, police will only be giving warnings. Full enforcement, which means police will issue citations to motorists not complying under the new law, will begin April 7, 2010. Even then, the violation will be secondarily enforced, which means you will only receive a ticket if you have been pulled over for another moving violation. The fine for the violation can't exceed $75.
Like many drivers, I have a problem with the government telling me what I can and can't do when I am inside my car. While I don't think people should be texting, talking on cell phones or applying makeup while driving (and I've seen people do all of these things while motoring down the street), I wonder if all of these laws could eventually extend to talking to passengers or changing stations on the radio, which I agree are all distractions, but where do we draw the line?
I do, however, agree with child restraint laws. Children are the most vulnerable of the population and they trust and depend on parents and caregivers to keep them from harm. Although as adults we should know better when it comes to taking care of ourselves, we need to be even more diligent when taking care of our children.
According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, between 2002 and 2006, 76 children were killed in car crashes and more than 18,000 were injured. Research has shown that booster seats reduce the odds of significant injuries during a crash.
While we might think that nothing will ever happen to us, let's protect our kids and do what's right. Obey the new law.