New California Booster Seat Law Takes Effect January 1st

New child seat law designed to reduce number of children injured in car accidents.

The new law is aimed at reducing the number of children injured in car accidents along California’s roadways.

The new law, which takes effect at the start of the new year, requires children to ride in a car seat until they are eight years of age or at least 4 feet 9 inches tall. The new measures replace current guidelines which require car seats for children until age 6 or until they weigh at least 60 pounds.

The measure, approved by Governor Jerry Brown, is intended to increase child safety as measured by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines. Similar measures were previously vetoed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The NHTSA recommends the use of booster seats for children age 8 to 12 unless the child can fit properly in a regular seat belt. Proper placement means the lap belt resting across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt resting across the chest, rather than the neck. These guidelines are similar to recommendations issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding the use of booster seats and seat belts among children ages 8 to 12.

In enacting the new law, California follows suit with Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas and Washington. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, drivers who violate the law will face a minimum fine of $479 for a first offense.

According to Kristy Arbogast, engineering director at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, all children should be required to ride in a booster seat until age 8. In 2009, the Children’s Hospital saw a 45 percent reduction in injuries to children ages 4 to 8 who involved in car accidents when the child rode in a booster seat.

The primary problem associated with regular seat belts is how they fit. With children’s smaller bodies, the belts tend to lie across the neck and stomach, which can increase the risk of serious brain or internal injuries in a car crash. California lawmakers hope that the new regulations will lead to a significant drop in the number of children injured or killed in car accidents annually.

If your child has been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need to understand your rights. Under California law, you may be able to seek damages against another driver for injuries caused by reckless or careless behavior.

The law firm of Nadrich & Cohen LLP specializes in assisting car accident victims in California and across the country in proving their injury claims. Call our Injury Hotline today at 1-800-722-0765 to schedule your free initial case evaluation. All cases are accepted on a contingency basis, meaning there is never a fee unless we recover a judgment on your behalf. Don’t let a car accident ruin your life. Contact Nadrich & Cohen today to get the experienced legal help you need.