I know that we all know how impressionable our kids are but I just wanted to share something that happened yesterday as a little reminder for all of us.
Three of the kids that I was watching were playing together. They made two rows of seats and called it a taxi. Child one and child two put child three in the ‘backseat’ and buckled her seat belt so “she would be safe.” Then one and two sat in the front as the ‘drivers’ and put their own seat belts on. This is the conversation that followed:
One: “Oh wait, we don’t have to wear our seat belts.”
One: “Because we are in the front. Seat belts are just for kids, not adults.”
(they both take their seat belts off)
One: “My mom never wears her seat belt.”
Two: “My mom and dad always wear their seat belts.”
It made me think. A lot. The little things that we do every day are giving them impressions in every way.
And since I am sort of on the subject I want to remind everyone about the new car seat law that just went into effect in MN.
- Children under age 8 and shorter than 4 feet 9 inches tall must be secured in a safety seat or booster seat that meets federal safety standards.
- Children cannot ride in a seat belt alone until they are age 8 or 4 feet 9 inches tall — whichever comes first.
- Safety seats must be installed and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Child must be secured in the safety seat.
- Seat must be secured to the vehicle — unless a booster seat.
- Infants (under 20 pounds and one year of age) must be in a rear-facing safety seat.
- Law applies to all motor vehicles originally equipped with factory-installed seat belts.
- Law applies to all seating positions.
- Driver is responsible.
- Petty misdemeanor fine for violation is $50 (may be waived if violator shows proof of obtaining a safety seat within 14 days).
- Applies to both residents and non-residents of Minnesota.
- Suspected non-use is a valid basis to stop a motor vehicle.
- Children riding in emergency medical vehicles, when medical needs make use of a restraint unreasonable
- Children riding in a motor vehicle for hire, including a taxi, airport limousine or bus, but excluding a rented, leased or borrowed motor vehicle
- Children riding with a peace officer on official duty, when a restraint is not available (a seat belt must be substituted)
- Children certified by a licensed physician as having a medical, physical or mental disability that makes restraint use inadvisable
- Passengers in school buses — without factory installed seat belts
This law is a minimum safety standard and does not reflect best practices for properly securing children within vehicles.
- For children under 80 pounds to properly be secured in a vehicle, they should sit in an appropriate child safety seat (or booster seat). In addition, children under the age of 13 should sit in the rear of a vehicle.
- Children are not ready for a seat belt alone until they can sit with their back against the vehicle seat, knees bent completely over the seat and feet touching the floor.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ride in a booster seat until they are between 8–12 years old and are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall. Read more about the importance of booster seats and upgraded child passenger restraint laws.
- Fines collected from violations of this law go into a special account dedicated to purchasing child safety seats for lower income families. Violations of this law are recorded onto a violator’s driving record.
- This is only a guide provided by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and should not be construed as legal advice.