booster seats

Booster Seat Bill Emerges from House Committee

Feb 25, 2015

Booster seat advocates say legislative action is needed to fix Kentucky's current law. A bill that would increase the height requirement to 57 inches and age standard to nine years old, passed the House Transportation Committee Tuesday.

Dr. Susan Pollack with the Kentucky Injury Prevention Research Center has been lobbying for years on vehicle booster seat issues. "All this is recognition that kids don't get to adult height until older than what we had said and taller," said Pollack. "It's really a height issue because if you're not in the right position height wise, the seat belt doesn't fit you properly."

Brandon Muravchik testified before the House committee. He was injured in a car accident when he was eight and underwent surgeries as a child and as an adult. "Ended up being a four hour surgery and he removed two feet of my intestine," he said. "So, this is 23 years later; so I'm still suffering from it."

Similar measures have passed the full House previously, but failed to make it through the Senate. Senate Transportation Committee Chair Ernie Harris believes Winchester doctor Ralph Alvarado's inclusion in Senate membership could change the dynamics. "We will talk about this bill at some time. We'll see what he has to say. I think he'll be supportive of it. But, I don't know if the votes are there. It hasn't even crossed my mind until you mentioned it today," said Harris.

Harris says members of his committee will be polled to gauge support.

Child-safety advocates are asking Kentucky lawmakers to strengthen the state’s booster seat law and bring it in line with national guidelines.

A 2008 law passed by state lawmakers requires that children be in a booster seat until they reach the age of 7 or a height of 50 inches. National standards go further, however, with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommending that children be kept in booster seats until they reach the age of eight or a height of 57 inches.

The Herald-Leader reports that a bill filed in the General Assembly would bring the commonwealth in line with neighboring states. House bill 199 would require boosters  for children younger than nine who are 40 to 57 inches in height.

Advocates say the need for change is supported by research. A study done by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that using a booster seat for children ages 4 to 8 reduced the risk of injury during a car wreck by 59 percent.