Earlier this week, the Florida Senate Transportation Committee unanimously passed SB 518, which would require children between the ages of four and seven to be restrained in a booster seat while in a car. This is a big step forward in keeping these children safer during an accident. Now, we all have to hope that the rest of the Florida legislature gets behind and passes this bill into law.
Currently, Florida is only one of two states that do not require the use of booster seats for children who have grown too large to safely fit into a traditional car seat, but are far too small to be safely protected by a seat belt in an accident. Seat belts are designed to be worn by adults, and do not fit children (and some small statured adults) in the way that is necessary to prevent injury. Often, the seatbelt crosses near the throat of a child and allows for too much movement behind the belt when locked in place. Both of these factors can not only fail to protect the child, but may be the actual cause of injuries in some crashes.
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death and disabilities (caused by something other than genetics) in the United States. This legislation would cost taxpayers nothing and could do much to allow families to avoid the heartache and anguish caused by the injury or death of a child, which could have been easily prevented, in many cases, had the child been properly restrained in a booster seat.
If you are represented by State Senators Jeff Clemens, Arthenia Joyner, Chair Jeff Brandes, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Greg Evers, Rene Garcia, Tom Lee, Gwen Margolis, Garrett Richter and Geraldine Thompson, please take a moment to thank them. This bipartisan effort is just what we need in Tallahassee.
Kudos to the members of this committee for voting to support child safety in Florida!