Ariz. child-restraint law would improve requirements

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PHOENIX -- A proposed child restraint law made progress in the Arizona State Legislature this week. HB2452, which would change child passenger restraint requirements, cleared the House with a vote of 32 to 24. The bill will now proceed to the Senate for consideration.
Under Arizona’s current child passenger law, children can be moved from a car seat to an adult seat belt at the age of 5. However, studies show children using an adult seat belt without a booster seat can suffer from serious head, spine and abdominal injuries, slip out of the belt, or even be ejected from the vehicle in the event of a crash.  

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with proper use of a safety seat, a child’s fatality risk can be reduced up to 71 percent.  Research by the agency also indicates that using a booster seat with a seat belt as opposed to using a seat belt alone can reduce a child’s injury risk in a crash by up to 59 percent.

In spite of Arizona's law, NHTSA recommends that once children outgrow their forward-facing seats, children between the ages of 4 and 8 should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. That usually happens at about age 8 or when the child grows to 4 feet 9 inches tall.

“By following current Arizona law, parents may unknowingly put their child’s safety in jeopardy,” said Linda Gorman. “If we adopt this new legislation, we can help parents keep their children safe with the most up-to-date child passenger safety research available.”