UPDATE 1/8/15 "The bill was never heard by the House so it did not get to the Governor's desk for approval. Since a new legislature starts this week, it will be up to them to decide if they want to try to re-introduce a similar bill for 2015." - Alyson Kechkaylo - Michigan State Child Passenger Safety Coordinator
The Michigan Senate has voted to update the rules for how children should be secured in their car seats.
The Senate sent the House legislation Thursday bringing Michigan's standards in line with recommendations from pediatricians and the federal government.
(A) IF THE CHILD WEIGHS NOT MORE THAN 30 POUNDS OR IS LESS
THAN 2 YEARS OF AGE, IN A REAR-FACING CHILD SEAT.
(B) IF THE CHILD WEIGHS NOT LESS THAN 30 POUNDS BUT LESS THAN
50 POUNDS, OR IS 2 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER BUT LESS THAN 5 YEARS OF
AGE, IN A FORWARD-FACING CHILD SEAT.
(C) IF THE CHILD IS NOT MORE THAN 57 INCHES TALL AND WEIGHS 50
POUNDS OR MORE, OR IS 5 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER BUT LESS THAN 10
YEARS OF AGE, IN A BOOSTER SEAT.
The new proposed Michigan law is intended to bring the state standards up to those recommended by the Academy of Pediatricians which are shown below.
A word about choosing the right car seat: it isn't a race to the top... really it isn't. Children in rear facing car seats are 5 times safer than forward facing. The goal is to keep children rear facing as long as possible. While the new law states children should move up to a forward facing seat at 30 pounds or 2 years, this section provides for parents to choose the best seat for their child:
"IT IS THE INTENT OF THE LEGISLATURE THAT THE ENFORCEMENT OF THIS SECTION BE CONDUCTED IN A MANNER CALCULATED TO SAVE LIVES AND NOT IN A MANNER THAT RESULTS IN THE HARASSMENT OF THE CITIZENS OF THIS STATE."
I am really disappointed with the wording of the proposed law.
Forward facing five point harness seats are safer than boosters, and boosters are safer than seat belts. So there is no rush to move your child up to the next stage. Check your car seats manual to see what the limits are on each position (if applicable) and follow their instructions. Some car seats rear face up to 50 pounds, forward facing up to 65 pounds and booster up to 100 pounds. Weight is not the only consideration, make sure your child does not exceed the height limits as well.
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