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Booster seat law focuses on child's height

California's new child safety seat law is now in effect. The new rules shift the focus from a child's weight to height.
January 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
California's new child safety seat law is now in effect. The new rules shift the focus from a child's weight to a child's height.

At 9 years old, it's been three years since Santiago Chambers Jr. has had to ride in a booster seat, but as of three days ago, he had to get back in the booster seat.

"What I learned today is that even though I thought he was the right age, he wasn't the right height for sitting in a regular adult seat," said parent Santiago Chambers.

California used to allow children to ride in adult seats once they turned 6 and reached a certain weight, but too many children were slipping through the seatbelts and ending up in the hospital.

"We had one just a number of weeks ago, a child was thrown 35 feet through windshield, out of the car," said Dr. Allan Nager of Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

The new law, which took effect Jan. 1, means kids must be at least 4-foot-9 or 8 years old before they can ditch the booster.

The booster seat raises the child to the height of an adult, which is who the seatbelts are designed to fit.

So far, kids don't seem to mind the boosters being back.

"It's really smart that they came up with this new rule, and I really think it's a smart idea," said Santiago Chambers Jr.

Parents caught not complying with the new law face a $475 ticket.


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