Booster Seats – 2012

Arizona currently requires children under the age of five to be placed in a child restraint system when riding in a motor vehicle. However, this law has a major loophole, as it fails to protect older child passengers who are too young to be adequately protected in an adult seat belt. The use of a booster seat compared to an adult seat belt is known to reduce the risk of child injuries by 59 percent in a motor vehicle crash, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS).

However, despite its proven effectiveness, Arizona is one of only three states without a booster seat law. What’s more, the cost of these crashes is high. In 2009, total hospital charges for children ages five through eight hospitalized for a non-fatal motor vehicle crash-related injury totaled more than $4.1 million. More than 75 percent of these charges, totaling more than $3 million, were expected to be paid by Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), according to AZDHS.

Introduced by Senators Gray (R) and Melvin (R) , SB 1084 would require children age eight and younger and four feet nine inches tall or less to be placed in a proper child restraint system as a vehicle passenger. This legislation would fix our flawed law and keep our most precious cargo safe while riding in a motor vehicle.

Safety belts are designed to brace a passenger across specific points at the moment of impact. On small children, however, seat belts fail to consistently brace these points. Small children will sometimes even have the belt cross their stomach. As the force of impact sends the child forward at a high speed, the seat belt across the abdomen first ruptures the intestine like a balloon. The child then folds over the seat belt and snaps the spine causing permanent paralysis. A Booster Seat allows the back seat restraint to make contact over the child’s pelvic bones and chest. This allows the child to be secure at the moment of impact without intestinal pressure or the spine bending inappropriately over a lap belt.

Due to the efforts of AzTA, the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, AAA, and many others, passed legislation requiring children under the age of 8 or under 4”9″ in height to be restrained in a booster seat.

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