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New Law Puts Bigger Kids In Booster Seats

Atlanta Lawyer > Atlanta News  > New Law Puts Bigger Kids In Booster Seats

New Law Puts Bigger Kids In Booster Seats

Shari Gilstrap paced outside Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston Friday morning as her 11-year-old son, Matthew, lay in a hospital bed upstairs.

“He’s got some brain damage done,” she told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik. “They put him in a medically induced coma.”

Gilstrap’s son was one of nearly a dozen people injured last weekend after an SUV flipped in Walton County, ejecting several children.

Gilstrap’s 7-year-old grandson, Jeremy, was also injured and is recovering at CHOA Scottish Rite.

Gilstrap approached Petchenik as he and a photographer were shooting a story about Georgia’s new booster seat law, which will require parents to keep their children in a seat until their 8th birthday.

She told Petchenik if the law had been in effect last weekend, her grandson might not have been ejected from the truck.

“Keep your child in a booster seat where they belong,” she told Petchenik.

CHOA’s chief pediatrician, Dr. Jim Fortenberry, told Petchenik that 95 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 8 who came to CHOA after car accidents in the last four years suffered injuries because they weren’t properly restrained.

“Children’s bodies aren’t built, at that age, to just be in seat belts,” he said. “A booster seat lifts them up and gets the belt properly set for their body to avoid injury.”

Terri Miller, with Safekids Georgia, told Petchenik that injuries from seat belts are so prevalent in that age group that emergency rooms have dubbed it the “seat belt syndrome.”

“This seat belt will cinch up against their abdomen,” she told Petchenik. “It causes all kinds of internal damages.”

The law requires parents to place booster seats in the rear of their vehicle. The seat must be appropriate for the child’s weight and height, meet all federal standards, and be installed according to manufacturer’s instructions.

For details on the new law, click here.

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