Booster Seat Warnings About to Expire

By: Zac Schultz Email
By: Zac Schultz Email

Madison: The child booster seat law requires the use of a booster seat for all kids between the age of 4 and 8 if they weigh less than 80 pounds and are under 4 foot 9.

The law went into effect last June, but there were no written citations-only warnings for first time offenders.

"Our intention was merely education for the first six months," says Sgt. Chris Jushka of the State Patrol. He says most of the parents he spoke with after pulling them over were friendly. "I have never had a person get grumpy about talking about the safety of their child. It's been very positive."

"You get that feel from warnings. You're doing a very positive kind of rapport. You're doing an education through that warning process," says Major Dan Lonsdorf, Director of Highway Safety for the DOT.

But the warm fuzzies are going away, and after the first of the year officers will be issuing tickets if the kids aren't in a booster seat.

"We'll do an educational process through citations, it's just going to have a little more teeth to it," says Lonsforf.

"Come January we will start issuing citations but that's not our intent. Our intent is to get the child into that seat, restrained properly, and safe and secure in the event of a collision," says Jushka.

Sgt. Jushka says most of the parents who didn't have their kids in a booster seat either didn't know about it or didn't know where to find one.

Some also didn't realize a child in a seatbelt can recieve serious injuries in an accident because the belt can rest on a child's neck and abdomen.

"Sometimes you see the equipment there it's just not strapped in," says Jushka.

"There's always some that it will take a ticket before they change their behavior and there will be some that even then won't change their behavior and it boggles our mind to a certain degree because we're just asking you to protect your child," says Lonsdorf.

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