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Booster seat law takes effect Wednesday

WILLMAR -- Parents who have yet to buy a booster seat for their children might want to consider doing so soon.

Under a state law that goes into effect Wednesday, all children under 8 years old or under 4 feet, 9 inches tall will be re-quired to use a booster seat meeting federal guidelines when riding in automobiles.

Booster seats allow for the seat belt to fit properly for small children, lifting them up so that the shoulder belt extends across the middle of the chest and the lap belt fits snugly across the hips.

Even though children over 8 are not required to use boosters under the law, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety recommends placing them in boosters until they reach the recommended height.

A booster seat ticket will cost $140 if issued in Kandiyohi County District Court. Parents will have 14 days after a ticket is issued to buy a booster seat. A safety officer with the police department must see the seat installed and sign off on the ticket before it is taken to a court administrator to be rescinded.

According to the Department of Public Safety, children should typically use boosters beginning at 4 years of age after they outgrow child safety seats. Only 30 percent of children currently do so, the department reported.