Public Policy

Ohio is currently 1 of only 15 states in the U.S. without a booster seat law and 10 of those have pending legislation. The use of belt-positioning booster seats lowers the risk of injury to children in crashes by 59% compared to the use of vehicle safety belts. The finding comes from a study of children ages 4 through 7 by Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS), a State Farm-funded research project at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Even though 94% of America’s toddlers use child safety seats, kids ages 4 to 8 are not being properly restrained. This puts children at an unnecessary risk of being injured or killed in crashes because they are simply in the wrong restraint for their size.

Children who have outgrown their convertible seat, after age 4 and 40 pounds, should use a booster seat. Safety belts were designed for adults. Therefore, children who are 4 to 8 years old, 40 to 80 pounds and less than 4 feet 9 inches tall, need to be boosted up so that the lap and shoulder belt fit low over their hips and thighs and snug across their shoulder.

In 2002 a booster seat bill was introduced, but was not passed. Currently, State Farm Insurance has taken the lead on efforts to get a booster seat law introduced in the Ohio Legislature. Many organizations, including Safe Kids Central Ohio, have joined with State Farm to endorse this effort. Many activities are planned for 2006 including writing letters to educate legislators, develop PSAs and solicit signatures from community members to support this law.