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Paynesville Press - February 9, 2005

Police warn parents to buckle up children correctly

Whether it's a latch, booster seat, or seat belt, parents securing children in a vehicle should use the proper safety restraint - and not skip the correct step for the child's size and age.

The Paynesville Police Depart-ment reminds parents and caregivers that during Child Passenger Safety Week (Feb. 13-19), as well as all year, officers will issue citations to drivers not in compliance with Minnesota's child restraint and seat belt use laws. Fines range from $25 to $50 plus court costs.

In Minnesota, three out of every four child restraints are used incorrectly, and many parents are unaware of the restraint steps a child should progress through as they grow - rear-facing infant seats, forward-facing toddler seats; booster seats; and seat belts.

Also in Minnesota, only 30 percent of four- to eight-year-olds use booster seats properly.

Poor seat-belt fit can contribute to serious injury, ejection, and death in vehicle crashes.

In 2003, 12 children in Minnesota (age 10 and under) were killed in vehicle crashes. Seven of the eight children (ages 4-10) were not using a booster seat. Four of the 12 children were totally unrestrained.

In Minnesota, all children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat; children up to one year and 20 pounds should use a rear-facing safety seat; toddlers over one year and between 20-40 pounds should use a forward-facing seat with harness straps; and children ages 4-8, over 40 pounds, but under 4' 9" should use a booster seat with their seat belt.

For more information about child restraint and seat belt laws in Minnesota, go to

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