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New state law requires car seats for kids 8 years old and younger

Original post made on Dec 28, 2011

A new child safety law effective Jan. 1 will require kids in California to use a booster seat in a vehicle until they are 8 years old, according to the state's Department of Public Health. Drivers who are caught not complying with the new state law can face fines starting at $475.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 2:13 PM

Comments (26)

Posted by Tom
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 28, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Just another way for the police to suck money from the citizenry. When are we going to require booster seats for merely short people?

My daughter keeps asking when she can stop using a booster. She's six now, but only weighs 45lbs. She's tall enough that the belt is off her neck, but now she can wait another two years because some idiot thinks their judgment is better than mine.

I hate this state.

Posted by Sue
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2011 at 6:35 am

Your headline is misleading. You state that car seats are required for kids 8 years old and younger. This is not the case....they are required UNTIL they are 8 years old. The article states that, your headline doesn't.

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2011 at 7:39 am

Yeah, Tom -- and who knows what those safeto-nazis are cooking up now? I heard they are gonna put big lights at busy intersections, and make people stop and start, depending on the color. Or else they'll give 'em tickets!

I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want My tax dollars used to trample our precious freedoms.

Posted by Fern
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 29, 2011 at 8:38 am

My 42 lb 6 1/2 year old still rides in a harnessing booster seat and will as long as possible.

If you are not familiar with the story of Kyle David Miller you might want to check out the link below.

It's all about what is safest, not what is in style, easy or least expensive.
Web Link

Posted by Mom in
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2011 at 8:47 am

Next, you ask? ....the elderly will be required to sit in them. My great grandma, petite and frail, should probably be in one!

Posted by Danville
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2011 at 10:38 am

If it saves just one life it is worth a life time of regret. Try losing a child or hitting someone who loses theirs. Yes it is a pain but really, why not complain about something worth complaining about. This you can do. Get over yourself and your child that needs to learn there are rules for a reason.

Posted by Carolyn
a resident of Blackhawk
on Dec 29, 2011 at 10:41 am

Fern - Miller was 3, was in a booster seat and still was killed. There are no guarantees in life and this law is just taking it to a ludicrous standard. I agree with Tom that it is another way to drum up money for the state. My kids are 13 and 16 and are doing just fine. BTW, should I put my 13 year old back in a booster because she is petite for her age? Why don't you just put your child in a bubble like "Bubble Boy" from Seinfeld and then your child will not have to deal with life.

Posted by Lili
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 29, 2011 at 11:55 am

I just read Kyle's story and am in tears.
Carolyn- what is wrong with you? Berating a mother for wanting to keep her child safe? Have you not seen the endless parade of moms in SUVs on their cell phones in our town? Why do you need to pick on a parent who is hurting no one and just trying to be safe? Save your criticism for the bad-example parents who smoke in the car with their kids, or better yet, who use their cell phones with sheepish looks on their faces while driving their kids around. They are above the law, apparently. Wonder why everyone complains about how entitled these local kids act...?

Posted by Carolyn
a resident of Blackhawk
on Dec 29, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Lili - There is a huge difference between keeping a child safe and being massively overprotective! BTW, her behavior is hurting someone - her child. If she is like this in other areas, she is not teaching her child to be independent and self-sufficient. The child will eventually be made fun of because he/she has to check with mommy on everything!

Posted by rufous
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm

It is not up to the government to decide for us what is safe. Alas they will make criminals out of us all eventually.

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2011 at 6:07 pm

I disagree, rufie. OSHA, EPA, seatbelts, speed limits, labeling standards, purity requirements etc. etc. all have had tremendous positive impacts on quality and loggevity of life (and insurance premiums Much lower than they'd be otherwise, for EVeryone).

The Market does a very, very poor job of regulating safety in an increasingly complex world where consumers just can't always have the information to make good choices.

If you're down to "clickit or ticket" in your list of gripes, well you're just a lucky guy.

Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Sadly, sometimes laws need to be enacted to protect people, and their offspring, from their ignorance/laziness/arrogance/fill in the blank. Having a child in a booster seat until they are 8 years old is not tantamount to being in a plastic bubble or likely to result in a child who is unable to make decisions. It is more likely to result in a child that lives until adulthood. Even if the risk of death or injury is small without a booster for an older child, isn't your child worth the small inconvenience?

Posted by becca
a resident of another community
on Dec 30, 2011 at 12:41 am

okay, so now my question is, can my daughter still ride in the front seat as long as she is in her baby booster....that's what she calls it, shes gonna hate me when this law goes into Because the current law stated that as long as they were either six years old, or over 60lbs, they are allowed in the front seat.

Posted by Mom
a resident of Danville
on Dec 30, 2011 at 10:39 am


The front passenger seat has been referred to as the 'death seat' since the 1940's. Booster seat or not, I wouldn't advise letting a child sit in the front seat of a car, even if the airbags can be turned off. The back seat is considered safest for a child.

Posted by Carolyn
a resident of Blackhawk
on Dec 30, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Small inconvenience, Diane? Think about the field trips the kids go on in school. I am sure the teachers are not thrilled about this new law. If just one parent forgets the unnecessary booster, the field trip can be put in jeopardy for the rest of the kids. How idiotic! BTW, have you talked with any parents whose kids are already out of it and now having to go back into it? I have and they are not happy about it either! And again, I don't believe it is a safety issue, it is a MONEY issue. Orwell and 1984 wasn't too far off of where we are headed with Big Brother controlling everything...

P. S. I grew up when you could ride in the back of a station wagon with the seats down in sleeping bags having fun, and I am still here so get a grip!

Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Dec 30, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Carolyn, requiring parents to provide a safer car trip for their children is not the same as big brother controlling everything. I, too grew up without seat belt laws. I started using one myself when my husband, an EMT, told me he had never unbuckled a dead person. He is all for the new regulations, saying that the extra support for younger kids can hep protect them from head and spinal injury in a forceful crash. That's really all the convincing I need.

Posted by Carolyn
a resident of Blackhawk
on Dec 30, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Diane - You're getting off topic. No one ever said to get rid of seatbelts. This is about taking length of time in booster seats too far...

Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Dec 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Carolyn, you brought up seat belts. Perhaps you have forgotten that you mentioned that you spent your youth in the back of a station wagon, sans seat belts...happy...etc. My comment is pretty clearly in support of the new laws that seek to protect children from undue harm if in a car accident. I don't believe that extending the length of time children are required to be in a booster seat is a horrible inconvenience or a State conspiracy.

Posted by Carolyn
a resident of Blackhawk
on Dec 30, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Diane - At $475 a pop and a point on your record, it really is a State conspiracy. Both the state and insurance companies get your money or the car dealers do when a family needs to buy a bigger car to fit those additional seats they now have to have. Really nice expense for families who are struggling in this economy.

Web Link

Legislators and people like you really need to think all the way through their ideas before you do your Big Brother thing...

Posted by Big Brother
a resident of Danville
on Dec 31, 2011 at 1:57 am

Don't complain. In other highly regulated countries, grandma and grandpa must use booster seats when riding as a passenger in a car.

Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Dec 31, 2011 at 10:24 am

Carolyn, it is less expensive then to just comply with the new regulations that were authored to increase safety for older kids, yes? Purchasing a $50.00 booster for that older child will prevent the $475.00 ticket and keep your child 60% safer in a collision. A win-win!

Can you disagree without throwing insults? Throughout this forum you result to such tactics with those who post an opinion that differs from yours. I enjoy the spirited and (sometimes) intelligent discussions with my neighbors on this forum - I often am given food for thought that influences my opinions. In this experience, not so much.

Posted by Carolyn
a resident of Blackhawk
on Dec 31, 2011 at 10:43 am

Diane, with regard to the money issue/motive for this new law, you still have a lot of research to do. Obviously this law was lobbied for by someone who wants to make money:

Web Link

I also enjoy thought provoking intelligent discussions as well, but have not found it here. I am really glad you are not one of our legislators as we don't need any more inane things to deal with. I just feel badly for those parents who have to deal with the unnecessary new law just because the state/insurance companies/booster seat companies/car dealers want more money because they can't balance the budget or they want a bigger bottom line.

Posted by Carolyn
a resident of Blackhawk
on Dec 31, 2011 at 10:45 am

P. S. Big Brother - That is why we live in the United States. We are SUPPOSED to be a free people!

Posted by Laverne
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 3, 2012 at 8:31 am

My son spent a semester as an intern at a State legislative office. As a 21 year old, one of his assignments was to "think up" ideas for bills that the elected official could introduce.

Posted by HS
a resident of Danville
on Jan 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm

A few ideas: 1. If a parent wants to keep a child in a car seat until they are 14-they can. It's their prerogative. 2. What evidence did the state get to change the age/height requirement? Why is 8 and under and 4'9" better than the last benchmark (I think 6 yo and 60 lbs). 3. If your child is 6 yo and 60 lbs-and you choose not to get a booster for him/her because they already met that qualification, and you get cited... please sue the state for violating the US Constitution's ex post facto clause. Once a citizen is given a right (to be booster free)-it is unconstitutional to cite the parent for making them ride in one again. However-if your child never met that requirement, then they legally should be in a booster until the new requirement is met.

Posted by Sam
a resident of Danville
on Jan 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Sorry, HS, you've got your constitutional law wrong. The ex post facto clauses in the U.S. Constitution don't prohibit the state from changing a law. They prohibit a state from criminalizing an action that has already taken place. So, beginning on January 1st, if a parent fails to comply with the new car seat restrictions, the parent will be in violation of the law. That isn't criminalizing behavior that took place in the past.

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