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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
AAA Calls For Improved Child Restraint Laws
The Automobile Association of America (AAA) is calling for states to close gaps in their child passenger safety laws.
It's been 30 years since the nation's first child safety seat law was enacted, and a new survey reveals that parents strongly support child safety seats and child seat laws. Yet almost 100 children under age 5 die every year in crashes they could have survived if they were secured in child safety seats.
To coincide with the 30th anniversary of Tennessee's first-in-the-nation child safety seat law, the AAA released a survey revealing that more than half of all parents (54 percent) look to their state for laws that offer guidance on how to restrain their children. A strong majority (93 percent) of parents said they are aware of their state's child restraint laws, and most (86 percent) feel that these laws should be consistent across the country. Yet less than half (39 percent) can correctly identify the age at which their state permits a child to ride in an automobile with only a lap and shoulder belt.
AAA director of public affairs Gail Weinholzer said, "These results send a clear and powerful message to state legislators across the country. Parents look to the law for guidance about when and how their children should be restrained but, in many cases, the laws are letting them down."
Throughout the U.S. state laws vary greatly, and although every state has a proviso for children under age four, only 18 states and the District of Columbia force children up to the age of 8 or older to be restrained in a booster seat. Iowa's law requires children to be in a child safety seat or booster seat through age five, Weinholzer said.
"Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children and booster seats save lives when properly used in conjunction with lap and shoulder belts," said Weinholzer. "Unfortunately, many children are put at risk when they are improperly restrained by a seat belt intended for an adult or older child."
AAA clubs work tirelessly in every state to enact comprehensive child passenger safety laws protecting children up to the age of 8. For more information on state child restraint laws, visit www.aaa.com/publicaffairs.
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