Although the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has had the booster seat requirement on its Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements since 1997, the State of Florida is one of only three states (Arizona and South Dakota are the other two) that has not enacted a booster seat law.
This week the nation observes National Child Passenger Safety Week (September 12-18), with child safety seat checks and other events throughout the United States designed to educate and alert adults to the importance of keeping our littlest passengers safe, NTSB said. The NTBS urged Florida to join the rest of the country by passing booster seat legislation.
“Unfortunately, there are three states and two U.S. territories that still do not mandate booster seats for children,” NTSB Chairman, Deborah A.P. Hersman said. “My colleagues and I hope that 2010 is the year that these legislatures will adopt this best practice and increase our young children’s safety in cars across this entire country.”
During the past 10 years in Florida, there have been 1,928 non-fatal injuries resulting in hospitalization and 175 deaths in motor vehicle crashes among children ages 4 through 7, according to the Florida Department of Health. Booster seats lower the risk of injury to children in motor vehicle crashes by 59 percent compared to the use of seat belts alone. Moreover, booster seats are used to position a child in a seat so that a seat belt can work properly to save a child’s life.
Today, Representative Richard L. Steinberg (D-Miami Beach) announced he will join Senator Thad Altman (R-Melbourne) in reintroducing a child passenger safety bill for the 2010 legislative session. The bill will require children ages 4 through 7 to sit in a booster seat when riding in a car. Representative Steinberg plans to introduce the child passenger safety legislation in honor of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Child Passenger Safety Week.
“Florida’s children deserve to be protected from serious injury while riding in a motor vehicle,” said Representative Steinberg. “Currently, Florida requires adults to be properly restrained in motor vehicles, yet it does not afford proper protection for our children. I hope that my colleagues in the Legislature join me in passing this important legislation to prevent unnecessary deaths and injuries to children.”