May 15, 2008 - Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Baltimore
Legislation that may well end up saving more children's lives was signed into law in Annapolis Tuesday. The new law extends the age that children are required to ride in booster seats from six years old to eight years old. The law also applies to all vehicles in the state, not just those registered in Maryland, as had been the case until now. If a child is 4?feet, 9?inches or taller, or if his weight is more than 65 pounds, the law does not apply. The significance of the legislation is seen in federal statistics showing how effective child safety seats are in preventing motor vehicle fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said restraint systems reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers in passenger cars, and in light trucks, by 58 percent for infants and 59 percent for toddlers. AAA Mid?Atlantic said there are 154,000 six? and seven?year?olds in Maryland, and this law will increase their safety. Unfortunately, about 60 percent of Allegany County residents use child safety seats incorrectly, according to the Allegany County Health Department. The health department will help you install a child safety seat properly, or it will even rent a seat under the Kids in Safety Seats (KISS) program. For more information, call (301) 759?5123. In addition to making sure more children are protected by safety seats, the new law qualifies Maryland for more than a million dollars in federal grant funds over the next two years. The money will be used to purchase safety/booster seats for low?income families.
Robbi Hartsock MSN, RN, PCNP
Trauma Designation and Process Improvement Manager
R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center
American Trauma Society, MD Division
22 South Greene Street
Baltimore, MD 21201