In our Phoenix area personal injury law firm, we see the dire consequences of motor vehicle accidents involving children all too often. In August, 2012, the Arizona child passenger safety laws were updated to include booster seat provisions. In the prior legislation, the safety laws allowed children to transition from a child safety seat to a seat belt alone when they reached 5 years of age. Most caregivers and parents would agree that trusting the safety belt to protect small passengers does not offer the safest option. The revised law requires a booster seat for children, 5-7 years old, and under 57” inches height.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released statistics regarding child passenger safety and vehicle collisions. Car crashes in the U.S. rank first in the mortality rate for children ages 1-12. As many as 40% of children are riding in vehicles without being fastened into a car seat or booster seat. Additionally, 80% of the children who are restrained, are not fastened into their seats correctly. Very little safety is provided for a young passenger if the restraints are not utilized appropriately. The NHTSA offers that by properly using forward-facing car seats, the risk of death during a crash is reduced by 54%.
You may see a child passenger safety guideline using a weight provision in addition to a child's age in other states. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) website explains that Arizona chooses to use a standard of height as a more exact indicator of when seat belts will safely restrain children, and will better lay across a child's shoulders and lap. In Arizona, it is the child's height that is the deciding factor for safety restraints and not a child's weight, according to the newest revised statute. For more information on keeping small passengers safe in your vehicle, go to: