Children, governor and others launch booster seat campaign

Wednesday, November 21st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Little boys and girls joined Gov. Frank Keating, representatives from private corporations and non-profit organizations at the state Capitol to promote the use of booster seats in automobiles.

``Our most precious commodity is our children and providing for their protection is the responsibility of all of us,'' Keating said.

Keating, officials from Ford Motor Co., Toys R Us, the United Way of Metro Oklahoma City and the state Department of Public Safety led a news conference announcing the Boost America campaign in Oklahoma.

The United Way will give away thousands of booster seats to lower-income families statewide.

Vouchers also are available to all families at Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda, Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover dealerships. The vouchers can be used for a free seat at Toys R Us or $23 off any other booster seat at the toy stores.

Ten children from the Easter Seals Child Development Center in Oklahoma City provided examples of tots who have outgrown toddler seats but are too small for regular seat belts.

Without booster seats, officials said, children sit too low for the regular seat belt to be effective. The children could be injured by the harness. Booster seats are generally recommended for children less than 4-feet-9 or who can't use a belt without its cutting across their necks or faces.

Officials plan to push for state laws requiring parents to use booster seats for children. They cited a statistic that showed more than a third of children ages 5 to 9 who were killed last year in vehicle accidents were unrestrained. Oklahoma law only requires them to wear seat belts.

The booster seats come with an extra strap to help hold the seat belt away from a child's face. The seat also keeps the seat belt across the child's hips instead of across the abdomen, which can cause injury.

The group started the campaign this week to remind parents to use the seats when traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday break.