Vol. 9, No. 2• May 2005

North Carolina Passes New “Booster Seat” Law

On January 1, 2005, a new law went into effect in North Carolina requiring children under eight years old or 80 pounds to use either a child seat or a booster seat. Penalties for violating the law include a $25 fine and two points on the driver’s license.

Why Was a New Law Needed?
North Carolina’s old law failed to meet recommendations by national experts. These recommendations are based on research that shows children between the ages of four and eight who are not restrained in booster seats are at great risk for injury in car crashes. These children are not large enough to be protected properly by an adult seatbelt.

Typically, a seatbelt will ride across these children’s necks or come up over their stomach. Many of these children tuck seatbelts behind their back or under their arm because of the poor fit. These behaviors place kids at increased risk for abdominal or spinal cord injuries.

By increasing the requirements, legislators have helped provide parents with a standard designed to protect children. For more on the new law, go to http://www.buckleupnc.org/. For information about choosing appropriate booster seats, go to <http://www.buckleupnc.org/using_selection.cfm#largerchild>

Copyright © 2005 Jordan Institute for Families