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Lawmakers Consider Stricter Child Restraint Laws

Lawmakers in the House Transportation Committee held a public hearing today on a bill that would require older children to sit in booster car seats. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Right now, only children under the age of four must sit in car seats when riding in a car or truck.

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would expand the requirement to any child, regardless of age who weighs less than 80 pounds

A less strict version of the bill would require only children between ages 4 and 5 to sit in a booster seat.

Pam Holt is the trauma prevention education coordinator for St. John's Health System in Springfield.

She says passing either of these proposals will help reduce injuries.

The booster seats are not the same as car seats for infants and smaller children.

Carla Sauerwein, the Coordinator of Safe Kids St Louis explains what booster seats look like.

The bill that uses weight to determine which children need to be in a booster seat could have children up to ten years of age in a restraint seat.

Pam Holt says ensuring safety for children means focusing less on age and more on size.

Even if some of these booster devices are supposed to improve comfort and safety for children, some lawmakers say they have concerns.

Republican Representative Mike Parsons is the former sheriff of Polk County.

He says this bill may go too far by placing requirements on parents.

Parsons says he's also concerned that the bill essential requires parents to buy a booster seat for their child.

He says the state shouldn't force parents to spend money on these devices.

Safety experts say booster seats cost as little as ten to fifteen dollars.

Pam Holt with St. John's Health System in Springfield says that's a small price to pay for prevention.

She says it will save money by preventing serious injuries.

Lawmakers have considered similar proposals in previous sessions but did not adopt any of those.