Speed Patrol: Child safety law proposed

By Jennifer Grove - bio | email

SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) - A bill pre-filed for the next legislative session in South Carolina could increase the maximum age that a child must wear a child restraint in the car. The bill also increases the age at which a child can sit in the front seat of a vehicle from six to eight.

State Rep. Bakari T. Sellers (D-Denmark), who is sponsoring the bill, says the move to change the current law came from a recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

According to their website, the NTSB has "called upon the 50 States to enact laws to require that all children up to 8 years old use child restraint systems and booster seats and that all children age 12 and younger ride in the rear seat."

The proposed changes adopt the first portion of the recommendation, but leave the minimum age at 8 rather than 12 for children riding in the front seat.

Even before the bill goes up for an official vote in Columbia, many parents are already voting "Yes."

"Personally I feel like my son would be safer in the back seat," Traci Worley said, adding she prefers that the law be changed to 8 years old. "Our kids, we can't protect them enough. I think we need to do whatever we need to do to protect them. If that means bumping the age to 8 years old and keeping them in the back seat, then that is the way it should be."

State Sen. Dick Elliott (D-North Myrtle Beach) says he is in favor of the changes to the current law, and he sees no reason why the bill would not be passed with the revisions.

"I can see no one that is reasonable that wants to fall out on the side of safety for the health and welfare and well being of our children that would be against this piece of legislation," Elliott said.

Worley agreed: "I hope it passes, I do. And I hope that all of the mothers are on board with that and I don't see why they wouldn't be."

The next legislative session will begin in January.

Parents with questions about how to properly install child restraints can call the Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue Public Education line at 843-918-1221.

Copyright 2009 WMBF News. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.