Children at New Albany Elementary School now know about Mississippi’s booster seat law after a visit from a delightful furry mascot named Ollie Otter. The law requires that children ages 4 – 7 must be in booster seats if they are under 4’9” tall or under 65 pounds. Ollie Otter says “You Otter Buckle Up!”
According to Kim Pee of Mississippi Safety Services, crash researchers have found that young children are too small for seatbelts and must have booster seats for the seat belt to fit correctly across their strong arm, shoulder, and hip bones. She states “Obviously, no seat belt at all is the worst case scenario. Of 100 children who die in motor vehicle collisions when they are not buckled in, if they had been buckled in correctly, 70 of the children could have lived. It is so sad and so preventable. In addition to deaths in crashes, many children suffer permanent damage such as brain injuries.”
Ollie Otter helped measure the children in PreK, Kindergarten, and 1st grade and found that nearly 100% of the students were too small for seat belts only and are safer if they use booster seats when they are passengers. Ms. Pee explains that seat belts are made for a 160-pound adult and are just too big for young children. The children also learned that they are 2 times safer in the back seat.
Ms. Pee also presented the school with a “Buckle Up” street sign. This sign will be placed on campus to raise awareness about seat belt safety and as a reminder to passengers to buckle up before leaving the campus.
This brain injury prevention program is a special presentation of Mississippi Safety Services and the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation. Mississippi Safety Services has been providing Defensive Driving Courses statewide for 25 years. For additional information, contact 601-924-7815, orinfo@MSsafety.com.