On Aug. 2 a new state law requiring children under age eight to be restrained in a booster seat will take effect.
The new state law requires children between five and eight years of age who are shorter than 4 feet, 10 inches tall must be properly secured in a booster seat.
Previously, Arizona was one of only three states without a booster seat law.
Booster seats raise children up so that the lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly over strong bones, and according to experts they should be used until an adult safety belt fits correctly.
Violation of the new law is a primary offense, which allows a police officer to stop a car if a child is not secured in a child safety seat.
The fine for violating the law is $50 and can be waived with sufficient evidence that the vehicle has been subsequently equipped with an appropriate child restraint system.
According to the Arizona Child Fatality Review, 50 percent of preventable child deaths in Arizona in 2009 were due to unintentional injury and motor vehicle crashes. Sixty percent of child passengers who died in car accidents in 2009 were not using restraints.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, booster seats for children four to eight years old are 59 percent more effective than vehicle safety belts.
Under Arizona’s previous child passenger law, children were able to transition from a car seat to an adult safety belt at age five.
More than 85 percent of safety seats are installed, placed or used incorrectly, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. The Pima County Health Department is providing free booster seats for low-income families with children who will require them under the new law. Families can receive one seat per eligible child.
Booster seats are available at all Health Department immunization clinics during immunization clinic hours or by appointment. Hours for each of the clinics can be found at www.pimahealth.org.
Eligible families should call the office nearest them to arrange a time to get the seat.
North Office: 3550 N. 1st Avenue 243-2850
East Office: 6920 E. Broadway Boulevard 298-3888
To find the child car seat inspection station nearest you, visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/cps/CPSFitting/Index.cfm
The Marana Police Department offers car seat inspection. Call 382-2049 for an appointment.
The Northwest Fire District on Massingale Road also inspects car seats. For more information call 887-1010.