Stricter Safety Seat Law Starts in September

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Parents can add booster seats to their list of necessary school supplies. The state is tightening its safety seat law, to require any child under eight years old or shorter than 4'9" to sit in a booster seat while inside a vehicle.

"It is a huge financial burden for centers my size," April Terrell, owner of Aladdin's Castle Day Care Center in Odessa said.

The new law will require her facility to use fifty-five additional booster seats to transport children under the amended law. Up until this year, the law required children under five years old or children under 36 inches to be placed in a safety seat.

"Fifty-five booster seats is a huge amount of money, even at the cheapest. I found one for $13.50 so that's a thousand dollars approximately and that's just not money I have sitting around. I don't think any small business has that sitting around right now," Terrell said.

Belinda Stovall tells NewsWest 9 she will spend a fair amount of money on the necessary seats for her two youngest children.

"I am going to have to get two for the day care. I am going to have to provide two for the people who pick my children up [after school] and they have to have two when they ride around with me all the time," Stovall said.

"I don't have a choice. It's that or the ticket and that's so expensive. I wouldn't be able to afford that either," Stovall said.

The stricter safety-seat law will mean most parents and daycare centers that offer field trips or after school pickup will need to get out the measuring tape. Terrell says none of her children between 5 and 8 years old are taller than the required 4'9".

The law goes into effect September 1.