A new law mandates that six-year-olds must now endure a booster seat for two more years, or until they stand at 4 feet 9 inches.
A new state law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown requires car booster seats for children until they turn 8 years old or reach 4 feet 9 inches tall.
The current law says children must use a booster seat until they are 6, or reach 60 pounds.
Madeline Brand spoke with her 7-year-old son who protested the new booster law saying, "I just don't like them, they make me feel like a little boy."
Sonja Atkins, a representative from Safe Kids Sacramento, an organization that co-sponsored the legislation, said what's more important is child safety. From 2002-2009 alone, said Atkins, California had "113 kids die, we had 414 kids sustain traumatic brain injuries and a little over 1,000 kids hospitalized." Those numbers represent a majority of children who were not in booster seats at the time of an accident and some who were unbuckled all together.
One of the main reasons for these injuries is the lap belt, said Atkins. Most seat belts are designed for an adult male, which means for smaller passengers belts fall across the belly, rather than the hips. The result she said, is seat belts cutting into soft tissue and injuries to the spinal chord.
Atkins said the new law will prevent these injuries because, by design, the booster seats make car travel safer for smaller passengers. "They have those little arms or indentations that keep those belts in the right place, and the booster lifts the child up so that that seat belt does fit them properly," she said. "You want those seat belts contacting the hard bones of the body and not the soft tissue, and that's what the booster seat does."
Despite the initial push back, Atkins said children like Brand's son will like the booster seats better than traditional car seats; and encouraged parents to play up advantages of comfort and the better view children get from the boost.
How will your kids react? Do you think the new law is a good idea? At what age did you take your child out of a booster seat?
Sonja Atkins, coordinator, Safe Kids Sacramento