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February 26, 2007

Booster up, Virginia!

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Breaking news: If you live in (or drive into) NoVa, using a booster seat with your older preschooler and school-age child is no longer just a nice safety suggestion. It's state law. On Friday afternoon, Virginia's governor signed into law a bill that requires the following:

* Children up to age EIGHT YEARS must be properly secured in an appropriate child restraint when riding in a vehicle. (Previously, Virginia's kids could legally (though not safely) ride in a standard adult seat belt at age five.)

* Seat belts may be substituted for children between ages four and eight, ONLY with a written statement from a physician who determines that use of a child restraint system would be impractical by reason of the child's weight, physical fitness, or other medical reason.

This bill goes into effect July 1, 2007. For more about the history of this legislation, click here.

For more about when and how to graduate from a toddler carseat to a booster seat, check out these resources:
"Booster Seats are for Big Kids," from nonprofit advocacy organization SafetyBeltSafe USA

"Child Safety Seats: The Guide for Families, 2007" from the American Academy of Pediatrics

"All Car Seats are Not the Same: Restraints for Larger Children," from Safe Ride News, 2006

Video demos on properly installing car seats & booster seats, from Partners for Child Passenger Safety at CHOP

"Booster Seats for Big Kids", a handy product guide from the National Partnership on Booster Seat Safety

Yes, carpooling will now be trickier until about third grade...but it's worth it for the peace of mind.

Posted by Sarah at 2:24 PM.