New California Law Only Lets Giants Sit Without Car Seats or BoostersMichael Sheehan
Once again, discrimination is among us. We know that it is present in our daily lives. Some of us act to educate our children about how to look for discrimination as well as stereotyping and even racism. And some of us choose to ignore it. But when it is the state government that perpetuates discrimination, we have to stop and review it a bit.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about stereotyping and how children actually do understand it and how prevalent it is in our lives. But now kids are the subject of a new law which comes into effect on January 1, 2012 that affects some, not all, children in the state.
“Hey shorty, where is your booster seat?”
Starting on Jan 1, children under the age of 8 have to be in a car seat or booster seat. That makes sense to me. And in fact, many parents bend these rules pretty regularly (“oh we are just driving down the block so it’s ok to not be in a car seat”). Remember, that most accidents happen within a few miles of the home. And when you couple the fact that when parents are driving kids, these frazzled parents are instantly distracted by child madness.
But, there is a catch to the new rule…IF your child is taller than 4 feet 9 inches (that’s 57 inches), they don’t have to be in a car seat or booster. How many 8 year olds or younger are THAT tall. Can you say future volleyball or basketball player? Might be nice to line up those scholarships now! I know some adults that barely hit that height! Where are their boosters?
The expiring law stated that if you were 6 years old or younger and under 60 pounds of weight, you had to be in a booster or car seat. The California government has raised the bar, so to speak.
Actually this is one case where I believe that height-ism is ok. When in a car, kids need to be protected to the best of our ability. Even baby seats have issues that are caused by the parents. Most car seats aren’t properly anchored or tethered when parents install them. Personally, I made it a best practice at home to be sure that I was the one who checked and rechecked the installation of carseats. When I properly installed them, they were using anchors, tethers and the newer LATCH system when it was available.
My installed carseats never moved. They were solid.
Remember, especially to those new parents out there, you can have experts check your car seat install. Many local police departments can help you with this so you might want to ask around.
The case in point here is that even though your kids might complain when you put them in a booster or car seat, it is actually for their own safety and protection. Be sure that you follow the laws and that you have good car seats that are properly installed.
And if your child is a giant, you still should evaluate if you want your wiggly child squirming around without a car seat or booster. My kids definitely aren’t giants and I will probably keep them in 5-point harness full carseats until they are 18 (and after that, install some locks on it to make sure they really drive safely).
What do YOU think about this new law? Too restrictive? Not strict enough? Or just right?