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Booster Seats Bill Hits Roadblock in House

March 25th, 2019 by Jake Stofan

Across the country, four children are killed and 490 are injured everyday in traffic crashes.

More than half are totally unrestrained.

In an effort to make the roads safer for children lawmakers are looking to increase the age kids must be kept in booster seats, but some say the Government shouldn’t be playing parent.

Tajiria Howard has a one year old daughter.

For now, she rides in a car seat, but Howard says once she turns four she’ll move to a booster seat.

“It’s the safest thing. I don’t want to not have a car seat and then something happen,” said Howard.

Howard says she’ll keep the booster seat until her daughter is six.

Florida law only requires a booster seat for kids five and under, but new legislation would raise the age to six and under.

“Just put a 20 or $30 booster seat in and potentially save kids from long term disabilities and traumatic brain injuries we’ve seen that last a child their whole life,” said Senate sponsor Kieth Perry.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommends kids age seven and under should restrained in a booster seat, but supporters hope increasing the age gradually, will give the bill a better chance of passing.

However, House Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Brad Drake says he doesn’t intend to give the bill a hearing, arguing the government shouldn’t be playing parent.

“I’m not real comfortable with a government making those choices that belong to the parents,” said Drake.

Mary Lynn Cullen with the Advocacy Institute for Children has been pushing for the change for years.

“The fight’s not over yet,” said Cullen.

She points out that the $60 fine in the bill can be waived, if the parent takes a booster seat safety course.

“This really is a learning bill, not a gotcha bill,” said Cullen.

Supporters of the bill hope opponents have a change of heart, arguing the more time that passes, the more kids stand to be injured or even killed in accidents.

On Tuesday supporters of raising the minimum age for booster states will hold a rally in the state capitol.

Speakers will include former first responders who have witnessed first hand how dangerous it can be for young children to ride without booster seats.

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