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Booster Seat Legislation Gets Senate Committee Backing

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Child safety advocates have long sought modifications to Kentucky's vehicle booster seat law. 

It appears such a change is headed toward final passage in the General Assembly.  Current law requires children under age seven who are between 40 and 50 inches tall ride in a booster.  

The measure approved by a Senate committee today states any child under 57 inches or under eight years old must be in vehicle booster seat. 

Dr. Susan Pollack has been lobbying for the change for years.

"The real issue is not every child at age eight is adequately tall enough either, but it's a big step forward to at least get the right height and at least another year of protection for children," said Pollack. 

Bill Bell, with the State Office of Highway Safety, says the bill approved in the House set the age requirement at nine, but the Senate is opting for age eight.

"Of course we wanted the higher age, cause that would cover more kids under the law, but the height requirement is elevated 57 inches so we can use that to talk to parents," said Bell. 

The current vehicle booster seat law requires children under age seven who are between 40 and 50 inches to be belted in.  

Louisville Representative Steve Riggs says the Senate revision relates to the age restriction.

"My bill was, you had to be less than nine and this changes it to less than eight, which matches most of the other states," said Riggs. "Only Tennessee is higher and Utah is higher."

The House approved version of the bill set the age requirement to 9 years but the Senate version backed up rule to age 8. 

Senate Transportation Committee Chair Ernie Harris says there's greater realization that current law is inadequate to protect children.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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