NTSB: Florida's child-seat law "most lenient" in the nation
Here's a story that might have slipped under your radar screen. The National Transportation Safety Board says that Florida has the "most lenient child passenger safety law in the nation." Why? Because the state requires that children be restrained only until they are 3 years old. The NTSB recommends using boosters or restraints until they're 8.
According to the NTSB, Florida, Arizona, and South Dakota are the only three states with no booster seat provision for children older than 4 .
The NTSB called on Florida and 20 other states and two territories to pass new laws that would follow its recommendations, which it has been pushing since 1996. I should mention that Florida legislators passed a tougher law in 2001, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Jeb Bush because he was worried about whether tourists would be able to comply with it.
Keeping the kids in special boosters and restraints until they turn 8 seems like a long time, I know. But I have to tell you that it's important to keep the kids in boosters if the seat belt doesn't fit correctly when they sit in their car seat. My little guy used a booster until he was about 7 years old, until I felt that the seat belt was on right. He very badly wanted out of that booster seat before then, but I had to go with my gut. And even though our doctor now says that our older boy is big enough to sit in the front seat, I'm still not ready for him to sit there just yet. For now, he and his brother ride in the back because it just seems like it's safer there for them.
Until the law changes all of us Mommas have to do what we believe is best to protect our kids, so feel free to disagree with my take on it. But I do think the NTSB has a point: 4 years old seems pretty young to be protected by nothing but a seat belt.
~ Sherry Robinson