August 28, 2006 - Posted at 7:09 p.m. CDT
POPLAR BLUFF, MO -- According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, the use of booster seats lowers the risk of injury to children in automobile crashes by 59% compared to the use of safety belts alone. Now the Show-Me state says a few more years in a safety seat could help save your child's life.
"In the mornings, I eat some cereal and get dressed and get my backpack on and then I get in the car and buckle up," said five-year-old Coy Rahlmann.
And it's a routine that won't change for the Poplar Bluff kindergarten student for a few more years.
By Missouri law, he'll be in a booster seat until he's at least eight-years-old.
"It may affect him when he's a little older, he might think he's too big of a boy to sit in a booster seat, but the law is the law, so we'll keep sitting in it," said his mother Susie Rahlmann.
"They have to be in that seat between the ages of four and eight, unless they are 4'9" or weigh 80 lbs.," said Sgt. Dale Moreland of the Missouri Highway Patrol, Troop E.
Under previous law, booster seats were required for children up to four years of age. Violators face a $50 fine, plus court costs. And as a new primary law...police have fair game on anyone who doesn't have their child buckled up.
"If we see a child that's not restrained, you will be stopped and enforcement action will be taken," said Sgt. Moreland.
"I try to set a good example and buckle up for him and he automatically does it himself, I don't have to help him," said Susie Rahlmann, "He knows to get in and buckle up all on his own."
And as Coy will tell you...safety always comes first.
"The airbags are pretty long, so they could get you if they were longer then they are in most cars," he said.
The new booster seat law is just one of about 130 new Missouri state laws that went into effect Monday.
Other new laws making headlines include: