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SD Car Booster Seat Law Headed for Veto Override Fight

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 By David LawContact
March 16, 2007

A number of health, consumer and children's groups have joined forces to raise public awareness about the importance of a new car booster seat law that was passed by the state legislature, but vetoed by Governor Mike Rounds. Sioux Falls pediatrician Dr. Scott McKercher is hopeful the legislature will override the Governor's veto. He says the booster seat law is needed because belt-positioning booster seats lower the risk of injury by 59 percent compared to just seat belts.

"There can be injuries in a car accident with just a seat belt and a safety harness. That belt can cut into the abdomen and there have been cases of children that have had abdominal internal injuries from the use of the seat belt. We feel that there is a significant improvement in safety in motor vehicle accidents with the booster seats now."

Mark Madeja with AAA South Dakota hopes the legislation will send an important message, because parents tend to equate what is legal with what is safe.

"And they naturally look at the law to tell them how their children should be transported. For example, if the law says that they can stop using an approved seat after age 4, parents will naturally gravitate and assume that that is safe. There have been numerous families who have done this very thing and lost their children in the process. We feel that in this veto measure we need to put safety in front of enforcement."

Governor Rounds vetoed the measure saying the new law is unenforceable, but Madeja says the law is working in 38 other states, plus the District of Columbia. He believes it's time for South Dakota to get on board.

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