Today: Changes to child safety law announced

Press conference at noon

If your child is under 8 years old or shorter than 4'9", California's child safety law now requires a backseat child restraint for car trips. Failure to comply can rack up a $500 fine and a point against your driving record.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 929 on Oct. 4; it takes effect Jan. 1, 2012.

Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, will hold a press conference to review the law at noon today (Nov. 16) at 4100 Bohannon Drive in Menlo Park.

The original version of the law only required car seats for children under the age of 6 or weighing less than 60 pounds.

According to a press release, booster seats are 60 percent safer than seatbelts alone, because the seat distributes the belt across stronger parts of the body than the waist. Mr. Hill and the California Highway Patrol suggested a five-point test for determining when your child is ready to swap the booster seat for the seatbelt.

Once they turn 8 years old or reach 4'9", children might be ready if they can:

1. Sit with back flat against the seat

2. With knees bent naturally over the edge of the seat

3. With the lap belt across the hip or thigh bones

4. And the shoulder belt across the shoulder and not crossing the face, under the arm, or behind the back

5. And stay seated in that position the entire trip.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Nov 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Any news about under 12 being required to ride in the back seat?

Posted by David B, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Nov 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I'm really tired of this car seat nanny state. When are they going to stop raising the limits?

I understand all the reasons, and I have no objection to these rules as recommendations. But by making this into laws with fines they aren't thinking of the unintended consequences:

- We all have to buy minivans or SUVs in order to have enough room for all the car seats. How much extra gas has been burned due to car seat laws?
- I can't give all the kids a ride home from school in carpool in my car
- Am I supposed to hold a 4'9" stick up against kids like at amusement parks before allowing them in my car?


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