Time to take child restraint seriously
Regarding LB42, child restraint requirements desperately need to be updated in Nebraska. Crash injuries are among the leading causes of death for young Americans, and a top cause for hospitalization. Since the passage of Nebraska’s current law, new data and analyses have become available. In response, the “best practices” for protecting children have been updated and are no longer reflected in the statute.
A recent study from the University of Virginia analyzed injuries from 1988 to 2015 and claimed that children are biomechanically safer facing the rear of the vehicle. Multiple studies have shown that most children are not ready for just seat belts until they are 10 to 12, and that half of 4- to 8-year-old children do not use booster seats.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia showed that children riding in front seats were 40% more likely to have significant injuries than those riding in back. Ongoing research demonstrates that children between 8 and 15 are among the most likely occupants to be improperly restrained, and that the youngest drivers are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes.
A well-crafted law would clarify messaging and become a core part of family education. Nebraska law should reflect the most current research, recommendations and manufacturer instructions. While guidance is publicly available, many parents are unaware of it or choose not to adhere to it. A good law, which reflects best practices and is actively and visibly enforced, would be universally accessible to all Nebraska families.
Nebraska Safety Council