New child booster seat law is now in effect

By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Texas Department of Public Safety says children under 8 instead of under 5 need to be in a child safety seat.

For months DPS  troopers have just been giving warnings to drivers, but now they're writing citations.

It's the law, parents have to make sure their older kids are strapped in a booster seat.

"Stats show that car seats are 71 percent preventive in a fatality accident, so that shows you right there that they work," said DPS Trooper Greg Sanches.

The old law said children under 5 years and less than 36 inches have to sit in a child safety seat, but now more kids will be sitting in booster seats. Starting June 1 the law changes to any child under 8, unless they are 4'9".

"That could be a booster seat, a forward facing seat or an infant seat," explained Sanches.  "The law includes all three."

Sanches said the seats correctly place the seatbelt across the child.

"It's going to ride up on their neck, it's going to ride up on their stomach on the lap portion of the belt," Sanches said.

Ashley Partain has an 8 and 3-year-old.  However, she said the new law won't change much in her son's routine.

"He'll be going into third [grade.,]" said Partain.  "He doesn't mind it, it's just become habit.  It's become something we've always done and as long as we just explain to them that it's for their own safety, it's not a problem."

East Texas parents said their kids won't mind too much because safety comes first.

"All the other kids will be doing it so it'll be just like a routine that everybody else does," said  Haley Ojeda.  "They already have a seatbelt on so they'll be boosted up a little bit."

"I think she thinks it's normal and she likes it because she can see out and around and she loves to look out the window," said Susan Murrell of her daughter.  "I don't see a problem with it.  I do think it's kind of old, but if she doesn't care, I'm not going to worry about it either."

Sanches says the new law is life-saving.

"If you have a collision out there and they're just sitting in a car or they're sitting in a seatbelt incorrectly, we're going to have some major injuries or death," said Sanches.

Although some second-graders may seem a little old for the seat, parents said a safety boost is well worth the change.

The fines for not having your child in a booster seat range from $150 to $200.

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