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Letter: Ensuring children's safety

I would like to thank our legislators for passing the booster seat bill. The booster seat bill went into effect on July 1 and requires children who are under the age of 8 and less than 4 feet 9 inches tall to be placed in an appropriate child restraint.

I have been a certified car seat technician and senior checker since 2001 and have worked with many families in educating them on the importance of using booster seats for children 4 to 8 years old. Since then, we have seen a large increase in the number of families that are now using booster seats for their children under the age of 8 in the Redwood Falls area, but we know there are others out there that are riding at risk.

Booster seats lift a child up, allowing the lap belt to fit low and snug across the hips and the shoulder belt to fit snug across the middle of the chest to provide the necessary protection in a crash. Booster seats are one of the most inexpensive seats to purchase when it comes to child restraints. You can very easily find one that will fit a child up to 100 pounds for under $20. There is a fine of $50 if you have a child in your vehicle that should be in a booster seat. However, with local fees and surcharges the fine could total $100 to $130. More importantly, a child that should be in a booster that is seated in a seat belt alone can suffer death or serious injury in the event of a crash. Injuries associated with poor seat belt fit include ejection, decapitation and serious abdominal damage. Booster seats reduce injury risk by 59 percent compared to seat belts alone.

Skip the fast-food meal tonight and go out and purchase a booster seat for your child that is 4 to 8 years old that may be riding at risk. It is a small price to pay to ensure the safety of your most precious cargo!

Shelly Pauling

Education and Communications Manager

Redwood Falls Hospital