Campaign Focuses on Child Safety and Booster Seats - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Campaign Focuses on Child Safety and Booster Seats

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You must be this tall to ride with just a seat belt, in a car that is. The North Dakota Department of Health, Transportation and Triple AAA want you to think twice about buckling up your child without a booster seat. As part of National Child Safety week, the campaign has new posters and slogans to educate parents and caretakers on using booster seats.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of two and fourteen, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. North Dakota Law requires children under the age of seven or who are not four feet and nine inches tall to ride in a booster seat. Yet, the Department of Health says not all parents are following those guidelines.

"In 2012, we observed approximately 70 children between the ages of seven and ten that were all riding in seat belts. And at this age, they really need to be in booster seats," says Dawn Mayer, Department of Health.

Doctors say parents should follow the height requirement rather than the age, because children who prematurely use a seat belt are at risk for serious health issues in the event of a crash.

"If a child is riding without a booster seat and they have a shoulder belt across their neck, upon impact it will cause a significant injury. Likewise, if it's across their belly or hips it can cause internal damage," says Dr. Todd Twogood, Sanford Health.

Some parents say they see the benefit of using a booster seat.

"My two kids here have older siblings and they are used to being in car seats. It's something that we encourage, because safety should be first," says parent Shannon Ray.

The penalty for violating the booster seat law is a $25 fine and one point on your driver's license. And regardless of whether your child needs a booster or not, your child should still ride in the back seat.

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