Next week a new state law goes into effect requiring booster seats for kids.
After several years of attempts, the Legislature passed a bill this year requiring the safety seats for children who are 4 to 7 years old and shorter than 4-feet, 10-inches tall.
With the new law, Arizona joins 47 other states in requiring the extra safety mechanism for kids who have outgrown car seats.
Public safety advocates, including Rural Metro Fire Capt. Grant Cesarek, says he has seen the seats save children's' lives.
“The biggest thing is for those smaller kids, the way that the seat belts would hit them across the abdomen and across the neck induces a lot of injury that could be prevented with the use of that booster seat," Cesarek says.
He cautions, though, the booster seats must be properly installed.
“There’s injuries that are sustained to where they may have been not as bad, or maybe they weren’t incurred on a patient if they would have been in the proper restraint,” he says.
Parents should visually inspect a booster seat after they think they’ve installed it correctly, he says. Make sure it looks like it's installed correctly, then tug on it to ensure it’s secure, Cesarek says.
An organization called Safe Kids Tucson, through Tucson Medical Center, offers car seat fittings at fire stations throughout the Tucson metro area to help parents correctly install the seats. Safe Kids Tucson also occasionally has funding to provide free booster seats.
Gov. Jan Brewer signed the booster seat bill in early May, and the law goes into effect Aug. 2.