"It's not illegal!"...is there a tear sheet I can hand out? - Mothering Forums
Family Safety > "It's not illegal!"...is there a tear sheet I can hand out?
blessedwithboys's Avatar blessedwithboys 02:54 PM 08-12-2010
So yesterday I helped out at school during dismissal. My job was to stand at the entrance to the school and direct cars to the car loop, different lines for different grade groupings. As a result, I spoke briefly to just about every single person pulling in.

Early on, there was a car with a mama on her cell phone and a tiny little sweet girl who looked to be not more than 3 or 4 in the front passenger seat next to her, sitting sideways on the edge of her seat facing the driver, with the shoulder belt pushed behind her and the lap belt pulled out way loose.

I accidentally thought out loud and exclaimed "No carseat in there?!?!?!"

The mama snapped "She's five, it's not illegal!" in a tone of voice that sounded like she was bored with the whole thing, and then zoomed off down the long drive to the school. Wonder if she's been called out on this before?

Anyway, over the next 30 mins, I saw little'un after little'un in the front seat, most of them without even a seatbelt.

Is there some sort of pad of tear sheets I can purchase and hand out at school? I wouldn't worry about ERFing, or even harnessing until age 4. I just want something that will explain kids under 12 need to be in the back, and kids under 8 need a booster. (Obviously, weights and heights are involved, too, but I was just highlighting quick examples.)

If not, is anyone up for helping me design a one page newsletter type thing to send home? If I write my own, I would want to hit on the point that legal doesn't always equal best practice, and also point out that Walmart sells a booster for under $13. Whatever I choose, it has to be shiny and bright and eye-catching, maybe with pictures and definitely without too many words. Many of our families have parents that don't speak any English, so I could also use Spanish and Kreyol versions.

Thanks!

chickabiddy's Avatar chickabiddy 03:09 PM 08-12-2010
I don't know if they have exactly what you need, but Safety Belt Safe has a bunch of freely reproducible materials:
http://www.carseat.org/Resources/Repro_Mat_Lst.htm
WindyCityMom's Avatar WindyCityMom 07:35 PM 08-12-2010
Just make sure that you check with the school first. I don't think anyone will complain, but better safe than sorry.

Maybe you could organize a car seat checkpoint kinda thing? I'm not sure where you live, but maybe your local police wouldn't mind doing it.
ssh's Avatar ssh 08:12 PM 08-12-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post
The mama snapped "She's five, it's not illegal!" in a tone of voice that sounded like she was bored with the whole thing, and then zoomed off down the long drive to the school. Wonder if she's been called out on this before?
This is illegal in some states. In Texas and Colorado, for example, a child has to be in a booster until he is 8. You can probably find your states laws on their DOT website or DMV website or google "yourstate" car seat laws. The sites that list regulations for various states aren't always up to date.
ChristyMarie's Avatar ChristyMarie 08:16 PM 08-12-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post
Just make sure that you check with the school first. I don't think anyone will complain, but better safe than sorry.

Maybe you could organize a car seat checkpoint kinda thing? I'm not sure where you live, but maybe your local police wouldn't mind doing it.
Good points! I think organizing a checkpoint is a great idea. And I bet the police would be very cooperative. I bet just one day of having a police officer greeting them would make a change.
2timestrouble's Avatar 2timestrouble 08:56 PM 08-12-2010
I don't know what state you live on but here in NJ kids MUST be in a Booster seat until age 8 or when they are 4’9” tall. Is the law.
Here is the website of Department of Law and Public safety, where they say everything about what are you asking.
http://www.state.nj.us/oag/hts/child...ts_newlaw.html
I am surprise so many parents were doing that, is not only against the law but is about the safety of your loved ones.
I also agree with the other mom, talk to the school first.
Liora's Avatar Liora 11:38 AM 08-13-2010
This chart summarizes all the state laws (not sure it is completely accurate but it is for Ohio): http://www.elitecarseats.com/custser...=car_seat_laws
blessedwithboys's Avatar blessedwithboys 11:54 AM 08-13-2010
Unfortunately, the mama was right. There's no requirement for a carseat after age 4 in my state:

(1)(a) Every operator of a motor vehicle as defined herein, while transporting a child in a motor vehicle operated on the roadways, streets, or highways of this state, shall, if the child is 5 years of age or younger, provide for protection of the child by properly using a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device. For children aged through 3 years, such restraint device must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer's integrated child seat. For children aged 4 through 5 years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a seat belt may be used. bolding mine

We also don't have a back seat preference in FL, meaning a child at any age can sit up front.

Technically, this mama was not breaking the law. Her dd was not required to sit in the back or use a booster, and her seat belt was on, though not properly.

Of course I would ask the school about handing out literature. I wonder if we could have an officer go up and down the line at dismissal to talk to parents who are waiting (the first person usually shows up at least 40 min before the bell rings, so the cars are just sitting there; there'd be plenty of time).

Well, now, after looking over some of that awesome material in the link, I know what I want to do! I just recently became and executive member of the PTO. I'm going to email my prez to see if we can have a safety presentation at a monthly meeting. Maybe I can get a CPST to come speak about boosters and back seat riding, and then we can follow up with sending home a one page info sheet the next day.

Would you say Pre-K to 4th grade, or up to 5th? Obviously, we don't need to send info home with the junior high and high schoolers. LOL (Although my ds1 did use a booster until he was about to start 6th grade. He was always on the small side, so he used it until he was 11 going on 12. And then he wasn't allowed to ride up front until age 12.)
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