Enforcing state’s new booster seat law is important - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Parenting Advice

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Enforcing state’s new booster seat law is important

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Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2012 11:00 am

I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow, I gave my children the idea that I know everything (this window opens when they start to use words, and I have learned, closes when the word “teen” is in their age). But the reality is, like most parents, I’m doing the best I can. Sometimes I’m — gasp — wrong.

This was true when I told my son I could fix the automatic lunch payments at his school (which are still not coming automatically) and when I told my daughter I could paint her bookshelf in under a day (it sits on the porch, weeks later).

You may find the same shocking truth applies to you. The “healthy” snack you’ve been buying has ingredients that aren’t so healthy. The sitter you thought was ideal spends more time on her cell phone than with your children.

Maybe it applies to how your child rides in the car. The new booster seat law says that children under 8 years of age and not more than 4 feet, 9 inches tall need to be in a booster seat while in a moving vehicle. Every time. Including car-pooling and short trips to the store.

This is good news for Arizona children. When a similar law passed in New York, booster use increased by 72 percent, and traffic injury rates fell by 18 percent. However, it might mean your child came out of the booster too early, and the law now applies to him or her. Your child may think that you, too, can be wrong occasionally.

Despite the reduced injury risk, more comfortable seat belt fit, and the ability to see out the window better, some children will not love this idea. They may feel that they “graduated” out of their booster, and don’t want to go back.

Moms and dads, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and we can help “boost” your safety confidence.

You can visit our website or call us at (602) 933-3350 to learn about booster seat safety.

Or, impress your friends with the cool “Car Seat Helper” app on your smartphone. It gives you an easy way to choose the right seat for your child, includes videos and surprising car seat facts, and even gives you information about local resources to help with installation of your car seat. To learn more, visit www.phoenixchildrens.com.

Also, let your child pick their own booster seats. Let them decorate it, even with markers or stickers (if they do this with friends, they will all be in on the change. After all, the law applies to your child’s friends, as well). Use rewards for correct booster seat use, including something as simple as choosing the music on the car radio. Set a good example by using your own seat belt, every time.

Sometimes, the lesson for your child to learn is not that parents are always right. As George Soros, billionaire philanthropist said, “there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes.”


• Tiffaney Isaacson is the injury prevention coordinator at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Reach her at (602) 546-1712.

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