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Simplifying Science

Inching Closer to Safety

Well New Hampshire, you are getting closer. You have decided to mandate that all children up to the age of 7  (increased from 6) and a height of 57" (up from 55") be in a "car seat" (which presumably means booster for the older of these kids, not 5-point restraint). At age 7, a child only gets to sit in a regular seat if she has hit the magical 57". But at age 9, the height requirement disappears, so a 53" child can sit without a booster. Here's the problem: there is a reason that the recommended height to graduate out of a booster is 57" (or as my 8 and 10 year old kids often call it, "The unfair height of 4'9", which we will never get to, Mom!"). At 57", the shoulder strap restraint hits a child across, you guessed it, the shoulder, and the lap belt component sits at the right place along the belly. Before 57", the shoulder strap crosses the neck. A seat belt doesn't care if a child is 7 or 8 or 9 years old - it works when a child is tall enough for it to work. A short child strapped across the neck can be seriously injured in an accident. So it is a good start, New Hampshire, but there's still room for improvement. You also, by the way, have some room in that seatbelt law mentioned at the end...

Gov. Hassan signs bill dealing with child restraints into law

Children will have to remain in child restraint seats for another year or until they grow another inch under a bill signed by Gov. Maggie Hassan. Under House Bill 242, children must be in car seats until they are...Read More