Yesterday the new seat belt regulations went into effect for Washington State. The laws for use of Blackberry and other handheld’s takes effect in 6 months and cellphone use restrictions, in 1 year. I share all this bcz I’m sort of generally a generation or two behind in understanding/acknowledging/complying with state laws. Well, or so it seems. Yesterday I had the children bring me the scale… (No! not for *me!*) bcz I wasn’t exactly sure who was in compliance and who wasn’t – in regards to the seatbelt *law.*
Yesterday, the revised law went into effect… as I was thinking on this yesterday afternoon, one of the local school buses passed by the end of the lane. The school bus, filled with little children… and no safety belts.
I looked at Andrew… measured and weighed: 4’5″ and 71#. Then ‘melia: 3’10.5″ 49#. Soon everyone (except me) was weighing… thrilled at their progress in height and weight gain! Mama, mama… do you have to weigh, too? Uh, no. They don’t need my weight. Then I think back on that ideal weight that appears on my driver’s license. Ah, but that’s another story.
So, I need to go shopping. and I’m contemplating… should I take the children for a ride in the van with one older carseat for ‘melia and without a booster seat for Andrew? It does have shoulder-belts and lap-belts and at eight years old, Andrew is technically not required by the law to be in a booster seat any longer. So I consider the ramifications of all the new laws going into effect. I have to stop and read them bcz I perhaps didn’t read the previous law that the current laws replace.
washington’s seatbelt laws
- Children under 13 years old be transported in the back seat where it is practical to do so.
- Children up to their 8th birthday, unless they are 4’9″ tall (which ever comes first), must ride in a child restraint. (For example a child car seat, booster seat, vest, or other restraint that is federally approved for use in the car.)
- The restraint system must be used correctly according to the car seat AND vehicle manufacturer’s instructions.
- Vehicles equipped with lap-only seat belts are exempt from the requirement to use a booster seat.
- Children 8-years of age or at least 4’9″ who wear a seat belt MUST use it correctly (never under the arm or behind the back) or continue to use a booster.
See, I am behind the times. And then I think again… Wow… are there really no seat belts in a school bus? I looked it up… sure enough, no belts. But the rationale is that the seats are specially designed… (this, from this site).
“…have built-in safety protection for their young riders. Seats are designed and padded to create a protective envelope to protect school-age kids. These strong, closely-spaced seats and flexible, energy-absorbing seat backs protect passengers without requiring the passengers to do anything but sit in the seats.”
I think on another article I read yesterday about “socialization” and public vs. home education. I wonder if the children in Snohomish who spend an hour and a half (or more) on the bus each day will remember to put on their seat belt when they go for a ride in the family car? I imagine they might wonder why they leave home to be educated and are educated otherwise and return home to be reminded of the law (that they don’t follow to and from school). This isn’t intended to be a slam against government schools or government transport; I’m just mulling. Just mulling, that’s all.