Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nannystate: California's New Car Seat Law

The WSJ highlights California's new car seat law, which requires kids to sit in boosters until they are eight years old or four-feet-nine-inches tall. There's a lot of complaining within the juice-box set. Hey, kids, start your own million-dollar lobbying effort and maybe you can get laws written the way you like. 

Friends Julie Mayer and Julia Bolcerek gathered their respective 7-year-old sons together recently and broke the bad news: The boys had to regress to booster seats. 
Under California law starting Jan. 1, children must use car seats until they are 8 years old or 4-feet-9 inches tall, up from the current requirement of 6 years or 60 pounds. 
"That's bad," responded Ms. Mayer's son, Josh, who has been out of his car seat since turning 6. Ms. Bolcerek's son, Aaron, shouted, "No!" 
The upshot: Ms. Mayer and Ms. Bolcerek aren't quite sure what they'll do about putting their sons back into car seats, and the boys aren't satisfied. "It's not fun to be in a booster seat," says Josh in an interview. Aaron adds that he "feels really sorry" for kids who have to be in the "uncomfortable" contraptions. 
Parents face a squirm-inducing dilemma across the nation's most-populous state. Under California's old law, many 6- and 7-year-olds—there are nearly 1.1 million of them in the state—proudly graduated out of car seats to big-kid status on their sixth birthdays. Getting those wannabe tweens back into kiddie seats is inspiring tantrum

The angle on the story is the effect on kids who have "graduated" from boosters and can now use a seat belt like a regular person. Hey, how about some information on the politicians who passed this thing? The legislative sponsor for the bill goes unidentified. Governor Jerry Brown, who signed the bill into law, is not mentioned. It's just "the state" who is demanding that kids be treated like babies. 

It's probably too much to ask for the repeal of this sort of thing, let alone expecting legislators to reject it outright. "Child safety" is a magical incantation that can clear the way for all manner of well-intentioned, but intrusive, law. You can't expect mere humans, let alone Democrats, to resist its allure. 

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