In Mass. a new law has gone into effect requiring all children under 8 years old or shorter than 4′ 9″ use a booster seat when riding in a car. Picturing our parents trying to make us do this when we were 7 is hilarious. [Boston Herald]

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  1. nataku8_e30 says:

    hehe, my g/f is only 4’11”, I wonder if we’d get pulled over in Mass.

  2. tande04 says:

    My states law is until 9 years (age 8 or younger), 80 pounds or less, and I thought 5 ft something but I can’t find the specifics on height right now.

    There was uproar when it first came out. I was in 6th grade maybe 7th at the time and I remember some of the other kids complaining that they would technically have to have one because they weren’t tall/heavy enough.

    Still I think they’re good laws. When I was younger and tucking the shoulder restraint behind my back because it got in the way I would of been pretty well screwed had we been in a major accident.

  3. MissTicklebritches says:

    My 12 year old cousin is tiny. In IL she has to ride in a booster seat, too. I’m wondering how long it will last, though, before she rebels and just won’t do it.

  4. SaveMeJeebus says:

    Wow. The rash of schoolyard bully killings should theoretically rise as well. Let’s just encase them in bubblewrap and call it a day.

  5. soloudinhere says:

    I wasn’t 4’9″ until I was in high school. I love Massachusetts and all its stupid driving laws. How’s that 50mph speed limit on 495 working out, hmmm, MA DOT?

  6. Youthier says:

    I think 8 is the law (or soon will be) in Michigan as well. I was just mentioning how this law will really probably kill a lot of carpools and put more cars in school parking lots. If you have one kid, are you really going to drive around with 3 more booster seats for the morning carpool?

  7. blong81 says:

    It’s just a ploy so that when cops see a kid in a car they can pull them over and say, “I thaught they weren’t in a booster seat”, or, “That kid looks younger than X years old”.

    They’re just trying to find more ways to make money and more things for their officers to do other than solve real crimes. Also to find more ways to harass people so they can initiate contact and look for more things to steal money for.

  8. blong81 says:

    Just a ploy to make more money and give more reasons for the police to pull you over.

    I forget where, but in one state they were trying to make it illegal to talk to pets in the car. So, you could be like singing to the radio or on a hands-free and they coul pull you over and say “I thaught you were talking to a pet in the car” and then plant some weed on you and arrest you.

  9. SonicMan says:

    I wonder who contributed to the campaigns of the people who voted for this? Couldn’t be the manufactures of the booster seats coult it? Follow the money..

  10. Kali Mama says:

    @nataku83: Only if she’s also 12.

  11. Hate_Brian_Club_I'mNotOnlyThePresidentI'mAClient says:

    Why don’t we just cut to the chase and turn our children over the the government straight out of the womb?

  12. zenmamajen says:

    @Youthier: Yes, Michigan’s age/height limit went into effect 7/1.

    [www.michigansafekids.org]

    What strikes me as extra silly though, is the age part. My 4’6″ son won’t be any more or less safe next month just because he turned 8…

  13. cmdrsass says:

    @SonicMan: In Massachusetts, all legislation of this type is for revenue enhancement – for the solons who write the laws and their close friends in the insurance industry. There is no surcharge yet, but that’s what they always say to get the law passed. Bonus points if they can somehow use a “think of the children” excuse. There is no “child safety/booster seat” lobby. Mass pols do it for free.

  14. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @soloudinhere: 50 on 495!?!?!? OMG, I used to take that interstate to get to my exes house, that thing is just long straight and the only way to stay focused is to go 90mph.

  15. samurailynn says:

    Okay, serious question here… What happens when a Little Person (I think that’s the current PC term) is riding in the passenger seat of a car? Some of them are definitely under 4’9″, but also much older than 8. Do they have to use a booster seat?

  16. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @blong81: Sometimes, if I dont tell my dog to sit while in the car there could be horrific accidents.

  17. linkura says:

    How asinine. My mother is 4’10” and we live on the RI side of the MA/RI border and go to MA for shopping all the time. She’s 52 years old, but if she ends up shrinking further due to old age, she’ll have to use a booster seat while driving? Probably not, but still, screw you MA legislature.

  18. samurailynn says:

    Also… I must not be imagining the correct kind of booster seat. I have an image of kids sitting on those things that they give you in restaurants if you’ve got a kid with you, and I’m imagining that that wouldn’t really improve the safety of the kid riding in the car.

  19. qwickone says:

    @blong81: Usually things like those are secondary offenses so they can’t pull you over for it, but they mention it once they do pull you over.

    When they say booster seats, they don’t mean full on car seats, right? Can the kids sit on a couple of phone books and call it a booster seat?

  20. qwickone says:

    @samurailynn: I think it’s illegal for someone under 12 to ride in the passenger seat, but that may vary by state.

  21. markedward says:

    I live in Iowa, and a friend of mine who was 14 was still short enough in height AND light enough in weight to be required to sit in a booster-seat… Of course she never did, though…

  22. azzy says:

    My 7-yr old doesn’t have a problem with boosters, my 5-yr old does. Hrm, I rarely wore seatbelts as a kid.

  23. geeky_reader says:

    I remember when I’d go on car trips sitting in the way-back of a station wagon where there were no seats at all…good times.

    I also frequented the back of my dad’s pickup truck.

  24. soloudinhere says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather: Yes, there’s a long stretch of 495 that has been reduced to 50, not that you’d notice given the actual speed of traffic there. I’m hearing rumors of them trying rolling roadblocks to see what happens if traffic actually goes 50 through there.

    But seriously can you imagine a 50mph speed limit on a highway that’s 4 lanes in either direction and perfectly straight with no ramps for miles on end? that’s Massachusetts for you.

  25. msbask says:

    The law is written to say 8 years old or 4’9″… whichever comes first.

    It isn’t written so that 25-year old people who happen to be under 4’9″ will be required to ride in booster seats.

  26. samurailynn says:

    @qwickone: Little Person as in the PC term for people with Dwarfism… not a term for kids.

  27. Zeniq says:

    @blong81: …That sounds ridiculous.

  28. RunawayJim says:

    @soloudinhere: Which stretch of 495? I regularly take it from 95 in the Attleboro area up to Rt. 3 or 93. The speed limit through there has always been 65 (except, of course, in the construction zones).

    @msbask: Thanks for clearing up what could’ve been an otherwise ridiculous law. That makes a whole lot more sense.

  29. adamcz says:

    Freakanomics ran an article recently about how there is no valid justification for the use of child seats after age 2. When the seat companies brag about the rate at which they improve safety, they’re always comparing to no restraint at all (including seatbelts).

    Seems like a crock to me.

  30. cordeliapotter says:

    @adamcz: Seems like a crock to me.

    No more than Freakanomics itself.

  31. Tmoney02 says:

    @cordeliapotter: Would you like to explain how exactly freakeconomics is a crock? Or do you not like information backed up with sound analysis?

  32. saradavidson says:

    Under 4’9” would have described me until age 13 – and I would have liked to have seen anyone try to make me sit in a booster seat at that age. I’m searching around for the justification for this new law, and coming up empty. Have studies shown that height is a contributing factor to injury in an accident? If so, I guess I missed it . . .

  33. Jackasimov says:

    Don’t forget the helmet, too.

  34. Dave-O says:

    Stephen Levitt (one of the authors of Freakanomics) gave a talk at the TED conference about how booster seats are not effective on anyone over 2 years old. The talk is very interesting and available online at [www.ted.com]

  35. texasannie says:

    November 1976: When my parents were taking me home from the hospital after I was born, the nurses at the hospital MADE FUN OF THEM for putting me in an infant car seat instead of my mom just carrying me in her arms like everyone else. How times change.

  36. chiieddy says:

    @nataku83: You’re dating someone under 8 years old?! Pervert!

  37. battra92 says:

    Wow, we all rode in big Chevy’s as a kid. 3 in the front and 3 in the back.

    That was before we rode in the bed of a Chevy S-10 for years.

  38. yagisencho says:

    While I spent my elementary school years riding around in the cargo area of a Pinto hatchback, my daughter and her peers have known no reality other than infant/toddler/booster seats. I don’t have any trouble with this.

  39. BytheSea says:

    @qwickone: I think it’s illegal for someone under 12 to ride in the passenger seat, but that may vary by state.

    Which is think is hilarious. I have vivid memories going to preschool memories of sitting in the front seat, without a carseat or booster seat. My mom put me up front so my brother and I didn’t raise holy hell in the back seat together. I was tiny for my age, too; I coulda died. :D

  40. battra92 says:

    By the way, this is why Western MA HATES Boston and people talk of secession regularly.

  41. nequam says:

    @soloudinhere: Excellent point! Except… the speed limits on 495 is 65 MPH. There is a small portion N of Boston where it decreases to 55 MPH. But, like I said, excellent point on the 50 MPH.

  42. papahoth says:

    @battra92: what else do they say? we want a dirt poor Mass and a rich Mass in the east?

  43. thelushie says:

    @qwickone: My grandma used to sit on a pillow to, you know, see over the steering wheel *snicker*. She didn’t like everyone laughing at her as she rocked on it.

  44. TangDrinker says:

    Yeah, in NC, the kid has to be in some sort of booster seat until it’s 8 years old OR 80 lbs, whichever comes first. They also “recommend” that kids sit in the back until they’re 12. So I guess if my 2 year old has a growth spurt and hits 80 lbs by his next birthday, we’ll be ok.

    I seriously think suv dealers and car seat manufacturers are in this together.

  45. magic8ball says:

    Kids under 12 are supposed to sit in the back seat because the front passenger seats on newer cars all have airbags.

  46. soloudinhere says:

    @RunawayJim: It’s past you, from I believe exit 41 (Route 28) to exit 45 or 46 (can’t remember, but I know it includes the bridge in Lawrence and the Marston St. interchange). If you take 495 to 93 in Andover, you’re getting off before the slow region. Still, cops are anal about going over 55 in the breakdown lane when it’s open.

  47. Jay Slatkin says:

    @apronk: I have a vague memory from the 70’s of sitting in a station wagon that had a rear bench seat facing backward toward the car behind. A rear end collision would have been splat city

  48. trellis23 says:

    @soloudinhere: Gee…. I wonder why cops would be anal about someone going 55 in a BREAKDOWN lane. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand why the speed limit is so drastically reduced on some parts of MA highways. But I never go less than 70 regardless of the limit, even on Rt 2 near Concord (45mph) and have yet to ever be pulled over. Perhaps, because I don’t use the breakdown lane for flying, I mean driving…

  49. BillsBurg says:

    My 6 1/2 year old just rolled over 4 ft (55lbs), in our van, without a booster seat the seatbelt hits at his neck NOT over his shoulder, his booster seat puts him about 5 inches higher so the belt now fits correctly, resting on his shoulder and not up near his neck. Without the booster seat, and with new seat belt that pre-tension in a crash, he stands a chance of doing serious damage to his neck, throat, etc. Sometimes there are some pretty good reasons for laws like this.

  50. B says:

    @samurailynn: They have to be one or the other, so as long as the little person is over 8 years old, they don’t need to use a booster seat. The law states a child must use a booster seat “Until they reach 4’9″ in height or 8 years old.”

  51. floydianslip6 says:

    @BillsBurg: Good reasons for using the booster seat are not necessarily good reasons for passing a LAW that says EVERYONE needs to make the same choice or pay-up.

    How long have we been fine without a silly law like this??

  52. battra92 says:

    @papahoth: Well it was a lot more during the Big Dig but basically based on how they pass all these laws and we’re incredibly outvoted on everything.