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New Seat Belt Laws in 2006

Back in December, Olivia posted about her travels with two kids in tow, and whether car seats are required in cabs.  Leaving the car seats behind especially if you have access to mass transit makes traveling lighter and easier.  Along that topic, as of January 1, 2006 in Oregon all commercial vehicles carrying 15 or less people (e.g., taxis, limousines, etc.) are required to use safety restraints (see ORS 811.210 to 811.25 for specifics).  The Oregon Department of Transportation Safety Division also provides a good overview of the other laws related to child restraints.  Direct from the source, here's a recap:

CHILD RESTRAINT LAW: Child passengers must be restrained in approved child safety seats until age four OR forty pounds.

BOOSTER SEAT LAW: Once a child has attained four years of age OR forty pounds in weight, then the child must be restrained in a booster seat until age six AND sixty pounds. This means the booster requirement would apply to children older than six if they have not yet attained sixty pounds, and likewise would apply to a child over sixty pounds IF they have not yet reached age six. The booster law does not apply to vehicles with lap-only belts in the rear seat.

BACK SEAT RECOMMENDATION: While it is not the law in Oregon, it is strongly recommended that children aged twelve and under ride in rear seating positions. Research indicates that such rear seating reduces the risk of injury by 37% for that age group.

Comments

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When I was in California, there was also a similar 6-years or 60 pounds booster seat law. In the last couple of years there had also been talk about changing the law to increase it to 8-years or 80 pounds. (I don't know if those same discussions are taking place here in Oregon or not.)

Anyway, I remember getting into some spirited discussions with some other moms about this because I was curious how everyone felt about it. The interesting thing is that very few moms I talked to agreed with the extension of the booster seat law by increasing the age/weight limits!

Intellectually, they understood why it was being proposed, but from an emotional gut-level reaction, they felt that our government was already being too intrusive in the lives of private citizens, and trying to make decisions for parents that should be made by the parents alone.

They were also wistful reminiscing about their childhood days when there were no such safety laws, and they could freely rollerskate, skateboard, bike without helmets, and they survived without any major injuries to life or limb.

My DD just turned 8, and she is 50 pounds, and we've still got her in her booster seat just to be on the safe side, even though she is beginning to balk at it. I'm beginning to notice that most of her classmates no longer use their booster seat, and I'm sure that many of them are not yet 60 pounds. We've also had her in the car on a few occasions without her booster seat.

I'm curious what your thoughts on the booster seat law are? Like the moms I talked to, I have mixed feelings about it too.

Not a helpful comment, just a gossipy one -- Britney Spears was photographed driving her SUV with her infant in HER LAP!!!! Okay, back to your regular programming...

I was looking for some info and found this site on each state's car seat laws and guidelines. It's pretty comprehensive and seems like a good resource:
http://www.inventiveparent.com/state-laws.htm

Effective July 1, 2007 there are some new laws and updates:

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TS/safetybelts.shtml#Seatbelt_Child_Restraint_Laws

Thanks Tonya! I hadn't heard about these.

Specifically the changes are:

CHILD RESTRAINT LAW: (effective July 1, 2007) Child passengers must be restrained in approved child safety seats until they weigh forty pounds. Infants must ride rear-facing until they reach both one year of age AND twenty pounds.

BOOSTER SEAT LAW: (effective July 1, 2007) Children over forty pounds must use boosters to 4'9" tall unless they have reached age eight.

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Which means my skinny 35 lb 4 year old will not be moving to a booster anytime soon, but that's fine by me. Luckily he's still got some room to grow in his Cosco Touriva seat, and plenty of room and weight before he hits the limits of the Britax Marathon.

We do occasionally use a backless booster for playdates who come home with us from preschool (it's the only thing that will fit in the backseat with the other two carseats in there), and for travel if we're just going to be in a shuttle van to/from the airport. I guess we can't do that anymore, at least in Oregon.

...which means my 4'6" 7.5 year old, whose been riding happily without a booster for a year and a half, will have to use a booster again.

she just burst into tears when i told her she had to use one again.

is there a grandfather clause around here somewhere???? (just because she won't stop wailing! dad is trying to explain logically and she is not happy.)

Perhaps this should be linked to on the main page, for people who don't read the "Recent Posts" sidebar? Can one of the powers that be do this?

Thanks!

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