Arizona's New Booster Seat Law
Effective August 2, 2012
Arizona's new booster seat law requires that children under 8 years of age and not taller than 4 feet 9 inches be properly secured in a child restraint system. The majority of U.S. states have similar booster seat laws, based on the same criteria.
Original Version of the Law:
Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 28-907 required that children ages 0 - 5 years old be properly restrained in a child passenger restraint system.
House Bill 2154 added the provision to require children who meet the following specifications be restrained in a child restraint system:
- under 8 years of age; and
- not more than 4 feet 9 inches tall.
A police officer can stop a vehicle if a child is not secured correctly in a child safety seat. Violating the law is a primary offense, meaning officers do not need a secondary offense such as speeding to pull someone over if they believe a child is not properly restrained. The penalty is a $50 fine that could be waived if drivers show proof they have subsequently acquired a booster seat.
Why Use Booster Seats?
- Medical experts say adult seat belts sit too high on a child's abdomen and can cause internal damage and even snap the spine during a crash.
- Booster seats for children (4 to 8 years old) are 59% more effective than vehicle safety belts (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
- According to statistics from the Arizona Department of Health Services, seven of the nine children ages 5 to 8 who died in a 2009 vehicle crash were not properly restrained in a booster seat.
"These booster positioning seats are very effective in preventing injury and decreasing deaths," Dr. David Notrica, Phoenix Children's Hospital's Trauma Medical Director, said during a committee hearing on the bill. Phoenix Children's Dr. Sara Bode testified that booster seats reduce injuries by 60 percent. "Even as a mother myself, I think it's hard to tell they can make a difference," Bode said. "You have to look at the statistics to prove this really does save lives."
American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations:
A booster will make sure the vehicle's lap-and-shoulder belt fits properly. Most children will need a booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years old. Children should ride in the rear of a vehicle until they are 13 years old. Read all of the recommendations from the AAP.
Remember, in the back, in a booster, every time.
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