An effort to toughen child booster seat standards in Kentucky is heading to the House floor. The measure has been before lawmakers in previous sessions of the legislature.
Kentucky’s current booster seat law states any child under seven years old and between 40 and 50 inches in height must be in a vehicle booster seat. The new bill, approved by the House Transportation Committee, would increase the height and age restriction to 57 inches or nine years old. Pike County Representative Keith Hall says this standard is already the law in all of Kentucky’s neighboring states. “What this bill does basically is lift that child up to get that seatbelt off of that neck in more of a restrained chest area,” said Hall.
Bill Bell with the State's Office of Highway Safety says young children have received life-altering injuries while sitting in law-abiding booster seats. He was asked if Kentuckians who take their children to neighboring states risk being stopped. “We confirmed that with KSP last year. They would be in violation of Indiana law. They don’t go back and look at Kentucky law if they’re in Indiana,” said Bell.
Representative Hall says the Senate has previously taken what he called a “libertarian” view of the booster seat measure. Northern Kentucky Representative Diane St. Onge favors a transition period during which violators would not face fines. “And of course we all here are very much interested in protecting our children, but we also don’t want one regulation after another regulation to be implemented,” said St. Onge.
St. Onge would like to see about a one year period for full implementation. Hall says the fine is 25 dollars. He believes a transition period might be more palpable to the state senate.