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New Minnesota Child Safety Seat and Booster Law

By May 20, 2009

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Beginning July 1, all children aged 7 and under will have ride in a federally approved car seat or booster seat. Taller children, those 4'9" or taller, are exempted from the law.

Currently, only children aged three and under have to use car seats or boosters. Children under one have to use a rear-facing car seat.

Proponents say that children aged between four and seven who are involved in a crash are 2.5 times more likely to be injured when they are not riding in a booster seat. Small children are not restrained very well by adult seat belts, and are at risk from abdominal injuries in an accident because the adult belts fit higher on their smaller bodies.

Minnesota joins twenty other states with similar laws. But the new law faced opposition in the Senate. Opponents said that it would lead to more lawsuits, and that parents should be responsible enough to make decisions about car seats.

Most parents are, and most children under seven ride in booster seats after they graduate from their infant and toddler car seats. But not all parents do for various reasons. Complying with the new law is fairly simple though: there are several booster seats appropriate for children aged over three that can be bought for less than $25 and they are much simpler to install and use than infant and toddler car seats.

What do you think? Excess legislation or a lifesaving new law?

May 20, 2009 at 5:04 pm
(1) MN GIrl says:

law is nice cause even though some children do use them not all do and once you get into that school age group there is more pressure to be like your friends. takes away the question and battle of getting your kid to ride in a booster since everyone else has to as well.

May 31, 2009 at 5:55 pm
(2) Deb says:

It seems to me that if children under seven need to be restrained in a booster seat in a passanger vehicle, then they should also be restrained in this manner in a school bus. It also seems appropriate to first install seat belts in school buses.

June 8, 2009 at 11:49 am
(3) JBurnsville says:

I believe taht this was a push from the car seat makers. These seats are unconfortable and having a child sit in them is abuse. The little money I have goes to food and now have to skip a meal to buy a booster I should have the choice to use. One more parental right talken away whats next?

June 8, 2009 at 1:31 pm
(4) Tracy says:

My two boys, ages 5 and 6 ride in boosters in my husband’s truck and my van. But occasionally my Mom or another trusted adult will pick them up from school. This is a problem for people who work and need to arrange rides for their children. Fewer kids can fit in a car with booster seats. People will not have booster seats available at the last minute. The cost of this is more than just the cost of the boosters. The real cost is the extra daycare I will need because I can’t have someone else pick up my children. It seems like they ought to have written the law to allow for “temporary” passengers. Although I don’t know how you’d enforce it.

June 10, 2009 at 9:22 am
(5) Responsible Mom against new law says:

I suppose we should make a law prohibiting children under the age of three from eating non-pureed food, to eliminate choking hazards? :-)

June 12, 2009 at 8:18 am
(6) mom for the law says:

maybe all of you against the law should watch the show they had on Kare 11 news last night (Thursday). The girls was riding with her grandma and they got in an accident. Now she will be in a wheel chair for the rest of her life. Like her mother said in the news story – she would rather be taking a booster seat with her than a wheel chair. I will keep my child in the booster seat and pay the little extra daycare just to keep my child safe!

June 16, 2009 at 1:39 am
(7) Chuck Nordby says:

Why don’t you make a law against cars? then you would save everyone! I live in a small town where there hasn’t been a death in a car for 35 years. (Hit by a train, just in case you want to know) I can’t even take my grand kids for an ice cream cone anymore with all this safety garbage being forced down our throats.
“Big brother” sure is watching now!

June 16, 2009 at 12:05 pm
(8) Bethany says:

I am completely opposed to this law. For one thing, the girl who was featured in that accident obviously was not wearing her belt properly. For another thing, after speaking with my local police department, they said that they will be pulling over and ticketing fully adult “little people” if they see that they are not using a booster seat, or are using a booster in front of an air bag. The way the law reads, even the law enforcement can’t tell weather you have to be both 4’9″ and 8 years old, or if you no longer need a booster once you are 8 and under 4’9″ tall. My son will be 8 3 weeks after the law takes effect, he is 4’3″ and his belt fits just fine. He has been out of a booster for nearly 4 years now, and I do not have one. I was made aware of this law last Thursday for the very first time, and now have about 2 weeks to buy a new booster that works for up to 80 lbs, when I live paycheck to paycheck and barely make it at that as it is. It is sad that the government thinks that they should have the right to pass a law, not get the word out there, and then expect us to just hop to and comply with little or no notice. Since I found out about it, I have called about 150 people with either children, or some adults who will be effected by this law. NONE of them were aware that they had to go buy a car seat once more. When I was pregnate I was given 9 months to come up with the money to get a seat. I guess 1 1/2 months with only a 2 week announced notice is the equivilant in their books.

June 21, 2009 at 8:44 am
(9) Concerned Dad says:

For anyone needing financial assistance getting a booster: http://www.buckleupkids.state.mn.us/clinics_distribution.asp. There is info on that site on places that will help provide child safety seats for low income families.

Anyone who thinks this is too much government intrusion hasn’t been paying much attention. Minnesota has been lagging behind in establishing a booster seat law. Many, even most, of the parents of early elementary students I know do not use booster seats for their children that clearly need them.

Let’s just make the safety of kids our primary goal.

Might be some little extra inconveniences along the way, but it’s worth it. You can always leave your booster with the child (boosters don’t install in the car they just sit on the car seat to raise the child to the proper height to fit the seatbelt) so a person picking them up can use it in their car.

June 29, 2009 at 3:08 pm
(10) T-Bone says:

The question isn’t whether booster chairs are safe or not, it’s if this should be a law. All this law does is create another class of criminals for law enforcement to be on the lookout for. Although people don’t have to take a test in order to have children (should they!?), the state has no business telling us they know how to take car of them better. Responsible parents will do what they feel is best. I’m just amazed at the nanny-state mentality that we allow or elected officials to get away with.

June 29, 2009 at 8:43 pm
(11) Ron says:

I agree with Tbone this is not about safety this is about the law, do we need it. I feel that the government has overstepped there bounds. When is it enough when they come into your house and tell you how to live you life. I’ve not seen any prove that booster seats will do anything to prevent accidents or there severity. yet we are forced to go by booster seats. I hope we wake up soon before all are liberties are gone.

June 29, 2009 at 9:15 pm
(12) Jen says:

Ron, I’m afraid we are past the point of no return.
These are MY children, it should be MY decision what is best for them, not the government. Sheesh, you’d think we had the children for the government the way they’ve taken over the brain washing of our kids in schools and taken away our rights as parents to teach our children what we want them to believe is right or wrong. This is just another nanny state law, taking more control over our kids.

June 29, 2009 at 11:32 pm
(13) Kat says:

I have a 16 year old daughter who is short only 4’7″ I’m not going to make her sit in a BOOSTER SEAT when I’m taking her places. THIS IS TOTALLY ABSURD!!! Our government is spending too much time babysitting us and taking away our freedom of common scene.

June 29, 2009 at 11:40 pm
(14) Tricia says:

Definitely a wise law to pass! I have a nephew who is only alive because his mother, who passed away in the accident, had him perfectly strapped, the seat set just right. I think these children have more rights than the parents…the right to a healthy life. Parents put that right at risk whent they choose not to take the time to seat their child correctly in cars. The rights of a child (especially when it involved their health & their life) should always outweigh the parents convenience.

June 29, 2009 at 11:45 pm
(15) Tricia says:

First of all, I am apalled at the comments parents have stated here. First of all, this is not a push from car seat companies. Talk to any doctor or nurse who works in a ER in a heavily populated area. They will tell you the child injuries they see in car accidents are usually inappropriately-seatbelted kids. Maybe they should check the statistics before making these sort of comments. Secondly, if you cannot afford a booster, go to someone for help! Churches! Social Services! Salvation Army!!! Someone will help save your child’s life! As far as the parental rights, come on!! If you care so much about being a parent, care enough to continue to be a parent by protecting your kids with booster seats!!!

June 29, 2009 at 11:47 pm
(16) Tricia says:

one more comment, if not everyone has a booster who might transport your child, keep the booster seat with the child. Many daycare providers have one or more child carseats/boosters sitting next to the door as the other parent will be picking them up, or grandma, or whatever. Once again, your child’s life & health come before your convenience!

June 30, 2009 at 12:27 pm
(17) Mike says:

I am grateful for the law. I’m currently in the midst of a divorce. My son needs to use a booster seat – the seat belt does not fit him properly without it – but his mother refuses to use a booster seat in her car. This law gives me a way to make sure my son is safe; without it I had no legal recourse to force her to use it.

June 30, 2009 at 2:49 pm
(18) Katie says:

I am a cautious parent & always abide by the law. I have a 7 year old, who is not quite 49″ tall, but weight 115 pounds. He is a solid, strong boy, and I have not been able to fit him in a decent booster comfortable since he was 5 years of age. Our vehicle has adjustable straps for height, to which he can use so that the strap does not cut him across the neck. It goes right across his chest like they do for an adult. So, unless they want to make and but a booster to fit my son for us, we wont be following this law. Our daughter who is almost 5 still fits in her regular car seat, so we definitely have her in there, but I think that law makers are just trying any way to make a buck as usual. Show me statistics that will prove that this new law will be any better that the other one. A better law would be making parents take that car seat installation course that I took, which was 4 hours long. Now that was informative, and taught you how to really install a car seat so that it is safe. I bet that would cut down injuries alone if people really knew where to place car seats in the vehicle & how to secure them properly. Bottom line will be on the size of the child. Do you think that I want to squeeze my son into those $25.00 car boosters just so he sits up an inch or 2 and have him in pain or discomfort for a long vacation ride in the car? Or even a trip to the store? Yeah, that makes sense. He is safe now, he is the weight and size of a small adult. Are you going to make adults be in boosters as well when they are a passenger? Some are the same size as my son. Take the instructional car seat installation class. You would be surprised at what you learn & your child will be safe in the car without this stupid new law. This law is right up there with the cap & trade.

June 30, 2009 at 2:53 pm
(19) Jim says:

Government just wanting to make more money. Bottom line. Learn how to install a car seat properly or your older children in a seat belt. Use common sense people. Law makers are just plain bored & have nothing better to do but charge more money to tax payers and find many dumb ways like this one to do it.

June 30, 2009 at 8:21 pm
(20) ginarone says:

The person who said lets just get rid of cars all together really has a valid point. Yes it is very true that we need cars so that we can make money and use that money to pay stupid bills like these but lets really look at what we can elliminate. let’s start with tickets, rising gas prices, car maintence, car insurance, car theft, car accident’s all together, ect. Now many people will have things to say about this but our kids will be safe and you will have more money in your pocket. REAL TALK!!!

June 30, 2009 at 9:41 pm
(21) Diana says:

I’m a school bus driver. Just so you know, school buses are padded and reinforced in a way that cars are not. They are *way* safer than a car to begin with, even in a crash.

Also, if a seat belt is not properly put on a child, they can suffer internal injuries that are often fatal when the crash itself would not have been. It’s near impossible to make sure 70 kids stay properly buckled in. Studies show that when seated properly, kids are safer when *not* belted into a school bus. I know it sounds wrong.

If they are *not* siting, the belt won’t do any good anyway. ;) And then they have something with which to hit other kids, into the bargain.

Just thought you might like a professional’s POV.

July 1, 2009 at 8:19 am
(22) Bryan says:

It’s time for the St. Paul Booster Seat Party. After we waste more money on plastic booster seats for kids who don’t need them. Then, let’s all dispose of them on the same day on the lawn of the capital–along with a thank you note to our brilliant legislature for the added bonus of paying more for our family expenses every time we hit the pump. These new laws are a boon to the booster seat manufacturers in China. I’m tired of seeing freedom slowly slip away in the name of “safety.” Acting with common sense–I’m all for that. Legislating every waking moment in an attempt to force “safety” on us is wrong. Shame on us for electing officials who take our freedom away–and charge us more for it.

July 1, 2009 at 8:25 am
(23) Bryan says:

And, how many of us rode SAFELY in the back of the station wagon on road trips with our families? We played games and actually talked to each other. Now we have to strap our children in for hours at a time and then compensate by putting in a video. Yes, there will always be tragic stories of accident victims. But those are the exception, not the rule. I am thankful the booster seat laws were not in force when I was 7!

July 1, 2009 at 9:30 am
(24) BAA RAM YOO says:

Sheep unite fight the government….
I am so sick of the CPST types thinking they need to think for the good old sheep in this way. I wish us normal pepole could vote for this type of law. These laws are commerce generated. When the Motor cyclist were able to get the helmt law repealed no one really cared. but when they past that law the law makers thought … WOW we really did our Jobs today. Some times I truly believe these “dill heads” sit around and think up laws to make it appear as if their jobs are worth while. They are NOT. Get these laws off the books and stop over thinking every damn thing that causes death. LIFE CAUSES DEATH, are we going to make law against life.
Let see … Oh yeah we slaughter our unborn children. but if they dont make it past 4’9″ we keep them strapped in.
I will be adding my name to the petition, expect it!

July 2, 2009 at 10:11 am
(25) Katie says:

Very good idea Bryan. Lets set the date, we’ll petition & get the word out there on FB or where ever. I will be right there to dispose of a booster seat on the state capitol lawn. A booster seat that will NOT fit my son. I think it is about time that we Americans got our nerve back & start sticking up for what we believe in. Sorry law makers, but you really need a reality check on what is important in life. Look at the responses above. Pretty much everyone agrees that this is yet another law that was made just to make it. I am ashamed of the people involved that passed this law.

July 2, 2009 at 1:27 pm
(26) Momof3 says:

This law makes no sense. My two youngest kids are approximately the same size and weight – about 5 ft-4inches tall and about 75lbs; the only difference is age – my daughter is almost 11, and my son is 7 (of course he’ll be 8 in September). Why is he required to be a seat and she isn’t? Our car’s seatbelts adjust to fit them properly. I do not plan to buy a carseat that will end up in the trash in a couple months (by the way, its my understanding that due to “safety” concerns, it is illegal to donate or sell used car seats) The only outcome of this law for me is that my mother will no longer drive my kids anywhere until my son reaches the age of 8. I’m just glad that the windows in my van are tinted!

July 10, 2009 at 3:14 pm
(27) I'm 35 and only 4'11" says:

Who wrote the “wording” for this law? Honestly, if this were the “law” when I went to get my drivers licence at 16 I “should” have been in a booster seat? What the? I think this law “discrimiates” against short people! Problem is I have a 5th Grade 11 year old boy who probaby wont hit 4’9 until he hits puberty which COULD be up until he’s 18. Sorry, but we just went to 6 flags and he was “tall” enough to ride on a roller coaster going 180mph with a BAR over his legs. I will not be making him ride in a booster. Sorry. Pull me over and give me a ticket and I will fight it.

July 13, 2009 at 8:39 am
(28) Another parent in favor of the law says:

Once your child reaches the age of 8, OR reaches 4’9″ in height, your child no is no longer required to use a booster seat (even though it is recommended until they reach 4’9″ in height).

This law doesn’t apply to anyone older than 8. See this website for confirmation: http://www.buckleupkids.state.mn.us/

The one problem I can see is for kids who are under 8, under 4’9″, and still too big to fit comfortably in a booster seat. I sympathize with those families, but otherwise am in favor of the law.

October 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm
(29) Randy Lyken says:

You know what, I’m glad I’m not a kid anymore with all those annoying nanny laws our so called state legislators and child seat supporters are passing. Lets ban kids from watching The Brady Bunch because Susan Olsen(Cindy Brady) was riding in the middle of the front seat without a seat belt on and was under 4 foot 9 too.

November 14, 2009 at 6:39 pm
(30) Bill in Minneapolis says:

Stop your complaining. If you can’t afford a simple saftey device for your children then maybe you should have thought about that before having them! I’m sure you could stay home from the bar one night or skip that carton of smokes one week and you would have saved plenty to pay for a booster seat. For those of you who think standard seat belts fit 5 year old children you are only showing your ignorance. Small price to pay and little inconvienence to keep your children safe!

November 14, 2009 at 6:48 pm
(31) William in St. Paul says:

If your kid is to fat to fit in a booster seat then maybe you should think about being a responsible parent and putting them on a diet so they get to a healthy weight! It sounds to me like everyone is complaining because of the inconvienence….pretty selfish and I feel bad for your children having parents who do not have their kids best interest at heart! And for those of you complaining why don’t you read the law and understand it first before crying about something that does not apply! As for discrimination against short people maybe you should complain to the automakers for not providing seats that adjust to give a smaller person the same safety as a taller one. I can’t believe the number of people making a stink about this law. Why don’t you all open your eyes and see the real issues out there and shut up about things that only make your childrens life safer!

January 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm
(32) dacierae says:

I have 6 kids, the new law requires that 5 of them be in some kind of restraint. the restraints are so smushed together in my Yukon that it is near imposible for me to reach between them to buckle them. The biggest ones unbuckle themselves- usualy not a problem but occasionaly while reaching into to the black whole between their seets they accidentaly unbuckle their car seat using twin sisters. This could be a crisis if I happen to not catch it. The point is no matter how many laws we make bad things will still happen and we will always be able to say if only. We don’t need a law. Education-YES Recomendations – Yes But a law says Government is going to make this disicion because you cant. Thats not what govenments job is. By the way I do use the seats. I would like not to have to for the safety of my kids because we arn’t talking about me upgrading to a $25 booster we are talking about having to spend thousands to buy a larger vehical that I belive would be less safe because there is no way I could buy something with as many safty features as my yukon in a full size 12 pass van to get the extra space between the seats.

November 9, 2010 at 6:56 pm
(33) Patti says:

Thank you “Concerned Dad”. To those of who who state that it is un-necessary – how can you say that? If it will improve your child’s chances of surviving a car crash, it is worth any small inconvenience. And as far as the cost – come on – they are only 15 bucks! ANYONE that is picking up my 7 year old child will have his booster sear, as well. His grandparents bought one just in case they ever needed to pick him up. How can you say that $15 is too great a cost for your child’s safety.
It frustrates me terribly to see young children allowed to sit in the front seat. My sister has done it with her kids “because they whine if they can’t”. Who cares? You need to teach your children to follow the rules and to protect them. My son complains about the booster, but tough sh*@. It doesn’t mean he get’s what he wants. Safety first.

February 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm
(34) Bryton says:

Parents can you READ?
The law says that if your kid is 4’9″ or taller, they are able to not use the seat. If you are above the age of 8, you do not need the booster seat.

Complainers: If you have a kid under 4’9″ that doesn’t fit into the booster seat, your kid is too fat. or a brick Sh@$ house.

If $25 dollars is too much for you, you should have went to college.

This law is meant for the safety of your kids!

It says, 2.5 times greater chance of survival and 2.5 better chance of no injuries.

Do whats best for your kid, god dang.

P.S. I’m 16 :)

March 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm
(35) Lisa says:

I would rather not eat a meal for a week then have my child’s life at stake. But a $15 booster seat!!!! What more important? Go to your local police station they sometimes give them away. I think its a great law!!!!!

February 20, 2012 at 9:46 pm
(36) MNStpaulGuy says:

First of all, school buses do have seat belts in the front seat. as for the rest of the seats, buses are designed that in a collision the seat ahead acts as a restraint.

Second of all, the state of MN has programs in place for parents who can not afford or have financial difficulties. Not hard to get if you really don’t have much money, only reason not to get it is because you are lazy. I know of the programs for 2 reason’s, one had to use it myself, and two, one of my friend’s relative is head of one of the programs. Just need to call your county office to get the information, so stop complaining and be a real parent. Do your homework and put your kids safety first rather then just complain. For the most part, most people who I see don’t qualify is because they have the money, just spend what extra they have on stuff they don’t really need. Like Cigarettes….and just to note…I smoke..and do stop regardless of how hard it is to not have a smoke when I need money for my kids.

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(38) baby monitor says:

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October 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm
(39) Ben says:

Deb wants seatbelts in School Buses…
Now imagine a full School Bus gets into an accident with all the kids wearing seat belts. And the bus ends up in the ditch laying on it’s side. And the ditch is full of water. So you have 1 or 2 adults that have to get like 20 kids out from under water trapped in their seat belts. And the same number of kids hanging from their seat belts. Doesn’t sound good to me!

August 29, 2013 at 11:22 pm
(40) Joaymie says:

I guess I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I have 2 children,10 & 8, my 10yr old is tall enough to not have to use a booster seat, but my 8 yr old, who is old enough , according to the law, to not have to use a booster, is not tall enough, so he will sit in one until he is tall enough. The whole point of the booster seats is to raise children up enough so the adult restraints will fit them properly, which if they’re too small, they won’t fit or work properly. As far as there not being enough room because of a booster seat, thats’s not entirely true. Most back seats can fit 3 adults & 3 children in booster seats would not take up any more room. there are normally only 3 seatbelts anyway so if someone is trying to fit more then that in a typical backseat then there will be a child with no seat belt & that’s even more unsafe. As far as price goes they’re really not that expensive, not like the infant/toddler seats. I got my booster seats at target for around $15 on sale. But really, when it comes to a child’s safety it shouldn’t matter the price. Also, I don’t believe having my child use a booster seat is abusive in any way. It’s much more abusive, not to mention irresponsible, to not have a child in one if they need it. All in all this is not a law that any parent should be griping about, it’s there for the safety of our children, first & formost, not to take parents rights away or any other stupid thing like that, so just deal with it, grow up & put your kids safety first!

September 28, 2013 at 6:31 pm
(41) Heather says:

i understand the laws and every thing but what if by the time the kid is 16 is still under the height requirement of what if a 25 year ild is only 4’7

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(42) car accident says:

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