Public Safety and medical officials joined a childrens’ advocate group today to call for strengthening Iowa’s child seatbelt laws. Current Iowa law allows kids to get out of their carseat and wear only a seatbelt at age three. At age six they can ride in the backseat of a car without any seatbelt. Iowa Department of Public Safety Director, Kevin Techau says the law is outdated.He says there are typically between 40 and 60 kids killed in traffic accidents in the state and eight thousand are injured. He says the laws haven’t been updated in 18 years and he says the National Kids Coalition survey gave Iowa’s laws “a big fat F.” Kathy Leggett of the Iowa Safe Kids Coalition talked about their wish list for an upgrade. She says they like to see children ride rear-facing through the age of one or 20 pounds, children ride in a carseat or booster seat until the age of five, and then kids would ride in the appropriate booster seat or with a seatbelt. Leggett says efforts to change the child safety laws have been thwarted over concerns that the laws intrude on a parent’s right to make decisions. But she says parents want direction. She says parents do look to the law to guide them. She says if the law says it’s okay to put a kid in a seatbelt at the age of three, the parents feel it’s safe when Leggett says it is not. She says that’s why we need a change in the law. Steven Dawson is a pediatric emergency room doctor in Des Moines who says he’s seen the result of Iowa’s current laws. He says if you take all the kinds of unintentional injuries to kids, fire drownings, ect., he says all totaled up they still do not equal the injuries and deaths from motor vehicle accidents. Dr. Dawson says it’s a statistic that doesn’t have to be. He says the use of properly applied seatbelts or booster seats would eliminate a majority of the injuries and deaths from car accidents. Dawson says the hardest thing he has to do is to tell a parent their child has died, or suffered a permanent serious injury. He says it’s also hard for the parents when they realize the injuries or deaths could’ve been easily prevented.
You are here: / / Groups seek changes in Iowa’s seatbelt law for kids