The Iowa Safe Kids Coalition is urging legislators to pass a law that’d require parents to buy booster seats for preschoolers who’ve outgrown their car seat. Linda Plummer, the child advocate at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, is a member of the Safe Kids Coalition.Plummer says current Iowa law requires safety seats for any kid under the age of two, and a seat belt for kids who’re three, four or five. She says that leaves a lot of kids without adequate protection. Plummer says adult seat belts just aren’t designed for kids who’ve outgrown their baby seat.Plummer says about nine percent of children between the age of four and eight are restrained in booster seats. Plummer says young kids often put the shoulder harness behind ’em because it chokes their neck, and the lap belt ends up on their tummy.Plummer says in an accident, that causes lots of internal injuries, spinal damage and head and neck injuries from the severe whiplash. About 60 Iowa kids below the age of 18 are killed each year in car crashes, and Plummer says many of the younger ones weren’t properly restrained in a booster seat. Booster seats cost between 30 and 100 dollars, and critics of say it’s an unnecessary expense for cash-strapped parents. Plummer says there are private grants available to low income parents who need a booster seat. She says there’s a one-year phase in period for the bill, which will give people time to prepare. The Safe Kids Coalition also wants the legislature to pass a law that’d force kids between the age of six and 14 to be in a seat belt, regardless of where they’re sitting in the vehicle.
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