Charles County Buckles Down on Seatbelt Safety

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Charles County Buckles Down on Seatbelt Safety

6/27/2008

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The Charles County Sheriff’s Office wants be ensure citizens are prepared for the new child passenger safety laws that become effective on June 30. They are offering new information and reminding citizens to take advantage of free child safety seat inspections and installation education available by appointment.

The new law requires every child younger than eight years old to ride in a booster seat or other appropriate child safety seat unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches or weigh more than 65 pounds. The previous law allowed children to leave safety seats at age six or once they reached 40 pounds.

The law also requires those between the ages of eight and 16 who are not secured in car seats to be secured by the vehicle’s seatbelt.

"The new law will help protect older children who are not yet ready for adult seatbelts," said Sheriff Rex Coffey. "Even at six years old and a weight of 40 pounds, most children are not tall enough for adult seatbelts to fit properly."

The lap-should belt should fit low on the child’s hips and across the mid-chest. A belt across the child’s neck or stomach could result in injury in the event of a crash.

It is suggested, though not required by law, that children under 13 should be belted in the backseat of the vehicle. The backseat is the safest place to sit according to information provided by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Families who cannot afford to purchase a safety seat should contact Maryland Kids in Safety Seats at 1-800-370-SEAT or visit www.mdkiss.org to learn about loaner programs operating in Maryland.

To schedule a child safety seat training session with CCSO, call Cpl. Robert Taylor at 301-609-6237 or e-mail taylorr@ccso.us.



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