Did you know that law-abiding parents may not be doing all they can to properly protect their child passengers? That's because the current child passenger safety law contains a loophole that provides parents of children over the age of 5 with bad, outdated advice. This law allows children to transition from a child safety seat to an adult seat belt at age 5, resulting in many parents and caregivers unknowingly placing their children in harm's way.
That's why, each year, AAA joins the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to recognize Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 18 to 24. As one of just three states without a booster seat law, AAA hopes that this week will elevate the importance of child passenger safety to parents, caregivers and our state's leaders.
Studies show that age 5 is too young to transition to an adult seat belt alone, as safety belts were designed for adults, not children. However, use of a booster seat, along with an adult safety belt, can reduce a child's fatality risk by as much as 71 percent.
A comprehensive child passenger safety law in Arizona has been long supported by both the public and safety advocates. In a poll, AAA found that 72 percent of Arizonans surveyed with children age 8 and under would support a booster seat law.
AAA has lobbied in support of efforts to strengthen our state's child passenger law for several years; however, despite these efforts, Arizona continues to have one of the nation's weakest child passenger laws in the country.
Correcting the flaw in Arizona's child passenger safety law will prevent more children from being injured or killed on our state's roadways.
In the meantime, AAA urges parents and caregivers to educate themselves about the proper use of child safety restraints, since research shows that an estimated three out of four parents do not properly use child restraints.
Visit Safeseats4kids.com to learn about the four stages of child safety restraints to keep your child passengers safer at every age.
In addition, if you need help determining how to install or inspect your child safety seat, our AAA certified car seat technicians can help. Contact (602) 241-2945 for more information or to schedule a free appointment.
• Linda Gorman is communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650-2716 or firstname.lastname@example.org.