After her recent success infringing on women’s reproductive rights with her crappy, anti-choice ultrasound bill Rep. Shannon Jones (R-67) has taken up a new cause: making sure parents have to buy more expensive – and really ugly – crap for their cars.

Jones’s HB 320, which just passed the House, will make booster seat use mandatory for all children age 4 to 8 or shorter than 4 feet 9 inches.

Whatever happened to all of the Republicans who want a smaller government that stays out of people’s lives?

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  • There’s no love lost between me and Shannon Jones, however, I do support kids being in boosters or Kangaroo seats through age 8. I learned this through the death of a friend’s grandchild several years ago. My kids couldn’t wait to get out of that thing and I can understand. But if the price of keeping the seat out of the car is death by asphyxiation…

    It really does happen, sadly, Joseph.

    Now – whether it should be a state law or not, I don’t know enough about what compliance is like right now. I can tell you I get irate when I see kids under 10 or so in the front seat, esp. unbelted. Sure it depends on their size, but there are a lot of parents who are way too lax.

    Again – once it happens to someone you know, see how you feel.

  • But is it really the State’s job to protect kids from their stupid parents? (no offense to your friend)

    It sounds to me like Ms. Jones just likes telling people how to live their lives.

    Can’t we just get by with a recommendation from the appropriate child-safety agency instead of trying to mandate and then enforce another law?

    If a Democrat proposed this law you know the righty bloggers would be all over it with their ‘nanny state’ rhetoric.

  • Modern Esquire

    Well, if the State can mandate that the parents must wear a seat belt, then why can’t it, and more importantly shouldn’t it, mandate that their children are safely secured as well.

    I think the argument for child booster seats is actually stronger than mandatory seat belt laws for adults. Why should children suffer because their parents are stupid (yes, I’m looking at you, Brittney.)?

  • So are we going to retrofit every school bus with booster seats for young kids.

    What about seat belts for the older kids?

  • Joseph – you ask good, fair questions. But let’s not get away from our hope: that we save the lives of children.

    So we need to know,

    -how dangerous is it to not have a 4-8 year old in a car seat or booster?

    -How much success has there been in voluntary suggestions (which by the way I know are in pediatricians offices?

    -are there states we can look to that have been through this – legislating this action and allowing us to compare before and after?

    -what is the actual cost, both in terms of dictating (so on an ideological level) and in terms of a) saving lives AND b) not saving lives?

    It’s just not as simple as saying stay out of my car, let me make my own decision. Esp. if death or injury is proven to be preventable with the use of the booster.

  • According to the NHTSA:

    About 350 children age 4 to 7 die in traffic crashes each year.

    Half of those who die are not in any type of restraint (child safety seats, booster seats, or seat belts).

    It sounds like kids have the same survival rate regardless of how they are secured in the car.

    I’m all for saving lives- especially kids.

    But it hardly seems worth forcing 80 million parents in the country to buy more chinese-made, plastic crap without any clear evidence that it’s actually going to do some good.

    Aren’t there better solutions?

    How about making the car companies install seat belts that can be adjusted for children?

  • still- i’ll probably end up buying booster seats for my kids. 🙂

  • The libertarian part of me shudders over things like this, we are again trying to regulate common sense when the reality is a good public education campaign about the importance of booster seats would probably be more effective.

    On any given day I see people driving with kids in their cars not buckled in. Kids get hurt/killed on trampolines, riding bikes or skateboards with out proper gear, are those next?

    Sure, even while my five are older when they were younger I used a booster seat. I’m sure when my granddaughter gets big enough we will for her too. I’m much more concerned about the way these seats are manufactured and the way not all of them pass the safety tests than I am about making this a law.

    http://money.cnn.com/2007/01/04/autos/car_seats/index.htm

  • Too late, LisaRenee. I think Mike Skindell already proposed the bike helmet law.

    Not sure about trampolines though.

    I guess we’ll have to wait until some politician loses a kid in a tragic trampoline accident before that bill gets written.

  • Everybody makes great points.

    This is the problem when we come to believe, expect or otherwise grasp for someone or something to blame for either us not being cautious enough or for our inability to control others’ behaviors. How much can we foresee – of our own infallibility and others?

    So we go to our laws, thinking we can influence people that way. Some people, but never all. And that’s because we have to also rely on enforcement – people being checked to see what they are doing, then people being given due process – to hear their side. Then people judging whether the person acted reasonably or not, and then meting out the sanction.

    And some people will take the sanction and still whatever they did.

    There are a lot of variables.

    But if the lack of caution by others leads to insurance rates being higher or less available, that’s when you see pressure – not just with a personal incident. Usually, you have to have more to make such a case.

    Which is why the Phil Burresses of the world make a mess of our legislature – because they go in their with money, morals and threats to legislators’ livelihoods and NO evidence that what they are proposing is even NEEDED, let alone with work. Likewise with the voter ID laws.

    Anyway – last point: look at the cigarette smoking trajectory, over the last 100 years. How long has it taken us to wean ourselves from something which we know is absolutely NO GOOD for our health and the health of those around us? How many different parts of our society have intervened to say that the derivatives of smoking are not worth thumbing our fingers at authority simply to say, it’s a free country?

    Yeah – it’s a relatively free country, truly. But does that still mean you want to risk your lungs – or your kids’ life?

    Seriously.

    Okay – I think I will be going back to school for that PhD in sociology now. lol

  • The smoking ban is different because you aren’t just hurting yourself with the smoke- you are also hurting others around you with the second-hand smoke.

    But you’re right- you certainly could make a case for mandatory booster seats or mandatory bike and motorcycle helmets using the argument about lower insurance rates or decreased public safety cost.

    But if the argument was really that strong then the helmet, seatbelt and booster seat laws wouldn’t be secondary offenses- which is how they are all structured now.

    You can’t be pulled over for not having your kid in a booster seat. You have to commit some kind of primary offense first (run a stop light, speed, etc.).

    And don’t even get me started on Phil Burress!

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