According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, child passenger safety is a prevalent issue that is combated by the use of car seats and booster seats. Motor vehicle injuries are the number one cause of death in children, but yet over 600,000 children under the age of 12 ride in vehicles while not using safety seats or booster seats.1Studies have revealed that the use of an appropriate car seat, booster seat, or seat belt can reduce the risk of injury or death for those under the age of 1 by 71 percent, those between 1 and 4 by 54 percent, those between the age of 4 and 8 by 45 percent, and for older children as well as adults by nearly 50 percent.2 The benefit of restraint devices directly corresponds with the prevalence of state regulations on requiring car seats and booster seats.
Missouri Restraint Device Laws
All drivers and front seat passengers in the state of Missouri are required to buckle up, but the regulations for minor passengers are much more specific and demanding.3 Laws governing the transportation of children under the age of 16 are specified under Missouri Revised Statute 307.179. The specific passenger restraint system or booster seats used under the law are required to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.4 Subsection 2 of the state law requires that every driver protects children by requiring children under the age of four regardless of weight to be in a child passenger restraint seat, children under forty pounds regardless of age to be in a child passenger seat, children between the age of four and eight who weigh between forty and eighty pounds and are less than 57 inches must be in a car seat or booster seat, children at least eighty pounds and over 57 inches have to be in a booster seat or vehicle safety belt, and if a car is not equipped for a booster seat installation due to the absence of a lap and shoulder belt, then a lap belt alone will suffice.5
These laws do have exceptions when more children are being transported than a car is equipped to hold in passenger child seats.6 The other exception to these state laws arises when children are being transported on a school bus or other form of public carrier for hire.7 However, violation of these state laws will result in a fifty dollar fine as well as court costs.8 The state laws establishing guidelines for who must be in a car seat, booster seat, or other restraint device based on age, weight, and height as well as the allocation of fines aims to encourage the use of restraint systems as a way of protecting minors for injury or death. There are, however, other important aspects behind properly transporting children which focus on selecting and installing a restraint device properly as well as not driving in a reckless or negligent manner such as while intoxicated, drowsy, or distracted.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
If your child has been injured in an accident due to a defective child seat or in some way related to the use of a car seat or booster seat, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.