The Chenango County Sheriff's Office would like to inform you that as of March 27, 2005, there will be a change to the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law governing child safety restraints. The law will require children between the ages of four (4) and seven (7) who are less than 4' 9" tall, be properly restrained in a booster seat. The seat must meet all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and must be used with the vehicles lap and shoulder belt.

New York State will join 26 other States that have enacted similar legislation. This law will further reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries by as much as 59%, by ensuring that children are being properly restrained in a vehicle. Between 1994 and 2002, the last year that statistics are available, nearly 3,300 children ages 4 to 7 were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States. 79 of those deaths occurred in New York State. More than 95% of these children were either unrestrained or restrained only by the vehicle seat belt. The seat belts in your vehicle are designed for use by the adults, who have more developed muscle and bone structure. Children under eight years old, regardless of their height and weight, have not developed strong enough muscle and bone structures to withstand a moderate to severe crash without receiving serious injury.

There are many different brands or models on the market today. All of these seats must meet the same federal safety standards. When purchasing one, you should check the box to make sure that it is FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) certified. When purchasing a seat, some of the factors to consider include: size of the child, type of vehicle, and type of booster seat. The best model is probably the Belt Positioning Booster Seat. There are several versions, but the seat should position the vehicles safety belt across the hip bones and shoulder blade of your child. This provides for a proper fit and also provides the best protection from injury in a crash.

The Sheriff's Office would also like to remind you that we are a child safety seat fitting station with certified inspectors available to inspect and install your child's safety seat. If you have any questions regarding this new law or any of the current child safety seat laws; or would like to schedule an inspection, please contact Sgt. Richard Cobb at the Chenango County Sheriff's Office at 607-337-1924.