Wisconsin AB 618 and SB 305: Protect Child Passengers

Denny Lund emailed this information on two bills that address requirements for child passenger booster seats:

On Wednesday, October 19, the Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin State Legislature will be voting on both AB 618 and SB 305. Because there is no public hearing for this bill, it is imperative that these committee members hear from you.
Please call and/or email your representatives and urge them to support AB 618 and SB 305. If they are not on the Joint Finance Committee, urge them to contact committee members.
Find your legislator’s phone number here: www.legis.state.wi.us
List of Joint Finance Committee members

According to Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS), which has conducted the first comprehensive study devoted exclusively to pediatric motor vehicle injury, inappropriate restraint of children in adult seat belts results in a 3.5-fold increased risk of significant injury and a more than fourfold increased risk of significant head/brain injury. (PCPS, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, State Farm Insurance Companies, 2003)
Using a booster seat with a seat belt instead of a seat belt alone reduces a child’s risk of injury in a crash by 59%. (PCPS, 2003)
In 2004, there were 350 fatally injured child passengers ages 4 through 7. (Fatality Analysis Reporting System, FARS, 2003)
Adult seat belt use is the best predictor of child occupant restraint use. A driver who is buckled up is three times more likely to restrain a child passenger than one who is not buckled. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 1998)
Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 14 and under. Seventy-five percent of motor vehicle crashes occur within 25 miles of home, and 60 percent of crashes occur on roads with posted speed limits of 40 mph or less. (SafeKids, 2005)
Although 96 percent of parents believe they install and use their car seats correctly, nearly 73 percent of car seats are misused in at least one way critical enough to compromise their effectiveness. The most common critical misuses are loose harness straps securing the child to the safety seat and loose seat belts securing the car seat to the vehicle. (SafeKids, 2005)
The use of belt-positioning booster seats lowers the risk of injury to children in crashes by 59 percent compared to the use of adult seat belts. The distribution of free seats accompanied by educational training can dramatically increase the use of booster seats among children ages 4 to 6. (SafeKids, 2005)
Restraint use is lower in rural areas and low-income communities. Lack of access to affordable car seats contributes to a lower use rate among low-income families. However, 95 percent of low-income families who own a car seat use it. (SafeKids, 2005)
The best way to protect children age 12 and under from risks posed by air bags is to place them in the back seat, properly restrained by the appropriate child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt.
Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have booster seat laws. Only 10 states and DC require booster seats for children ages 4 – 8.
A 2004 Harris poll found that 84% of Americans support all states having booster seat laws protecting children ages 4 to 8. (Lou Harris, for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, 2004)
Child restraint laws have been proven to increase use rates. According to NHTSA’s 2002 data, restraint use for children from birth to age 1 was 99%, and from ages 1 to 4 was 94%. However, both SafeKids and PCPS estimate that only 19% of 4-7 year-olds are riding properly restrained in booster seats. (SafeKids, 2002, Partners for Child Passenger Safety Interim Report 2002, updated 2003)
For further information, contact Jeremy Gunderson, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety,
202-408-1711 or jgunderson@saferoads.org