[Alaska] Governor Sarah Palin [on June 17, 2009] signed legislation that will help reduce the rate of child injuries due to auto accidents (Safety, 2009, Â¶1).
Senate Bill 72, sponsored by Senator Hollis French, allows the state to adopt into statute National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommendations for the type of safety restraints required for children under the age of eight based on height and weight. Current law requires children under the age of 16 to be properly restrained, but does not specify what devices are required (Safety, 2009, Â¶1).
“There’s nothing more important than protecting our children,” Governor Palin said. “I hope this legislation will prevent injuries and save lives” (Safety, 2009, Â¶2).
Under Alaska Statute 19.10.095, any child who is over four but under eight years of age and who weighs more than 20 and less than 65 pounds and is under 4 feet 9 inches (57 inches) shall be properly secured in a booster seat that is secured by a seat belt system or by another child passenger restraint system that meets or exceeds the standards of the United States Department of Transportation and is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions (Safety, 2009, Â¶3).
National studies have shown booster seats to be 60 percent safer than seat belts alone when used by children of the correct height, weight and age. This legislation will allow the state of Alaska to be eligible for nearly $200,000 in federal highway safety funds (Safety, 2009, Â¶4).
The foregoing legislation pertains to booster seats for children aged generally four to eight. Kudos to Governor Palin for signing this bill.
As a point of comparison, New York State began requiring these booster seats in 2005, but only to age six. New York requires infant seats and they must be in the back seat and face the back of the car if the front passenger seat has an airbag (NYS Child Restraints, 2009, Â¶1).
In Alaska, various loaner programs are available for parents who need child an infant seat — and likely now a booster seat. The Alaska Driver’s Manual states that these programs are available through local doctors and hospitals (Driver’s Manual, 2009, p. 19).
Driver Manual. (2009, May). State of Alaska, Department of Administration, Division of Motor Vehicles. Retrieved June 18, 2009 from: http://www.state.ak.us/local/akpages/ADMIN/dmv/dlmanual/dlman.pdf
Governor signs legislation strengthening child safety requirements. (2009, June 17). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved June 18, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1916
Safety restraints. (2009). State of New York, Department of Motor Vehicles. Retrieved June 18, 2009 from: http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/dmvfaqs.htm#carseat