Legislators often receive little credit for the truly good work that they do. Despite years of hard work and disappointment for previous bill sponsors, Rep. Keith Perry and Sen. Anitere Flores stepped up to the challenge and sponsored child passenger safety legislation during the 2014 session.
Previous law allowed children ages 4 through 5 to use a standard seat belt that’s designed for adults, not children. In adult seat belts, children tend to slouch or tuck the seat belt under their arm, which in turn causes the lap belt to slide up causing crush injuries of the abdomen in a crash. According to the CDC, use of a simple booster seat reduces the risk of injury to 4 to 7-year-olds by 59 percent compared to seat belts alone.
With the passage of HB 225, children are no longer permitted to use a standard seat belt, and instead must be in a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a booster seat. Perry and Flores should be commended for their hard work on this very important issue.
Louis St. Petery, executive vice president, Florida Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, Tallahassee
Kevin Bakewell, senior vice president, AAA, Tampa
Charles M. Auslander, president and CEO,
The Children’s Trust,