New changes in car-seat laws

For some Ashland youngsters, it's back to the car seat for a little while longer.

A new law became effective July — and prohibits children from graduating to a regular seat until they are either 8 years old or stand 4 feet 9 inches tall. The old law permitted children to leave the car seat behind once they weighed 60 pounds.

Ashland Police Officer Steve MacLennan said he has been trying to educate parents by distributing flyers. If children are improperly secured, the fine for a first-time violation is $97.

"I've had some pretty good crashes with kids in seats, and they came out fine," he said.

MacLennan does not foresee too many problems with getting older children back into their car seats.

David and Beth Hill said they expected their grandson, Julian, to object to riding in a car seat when he came for a visit. Julian lives in Maryland, where he is legally allowed to ride as an adult.

But they bought him a car seat the day he arrived and were surprised with the results.

"He does like it and can fasten it himself," David Hill said.

The first time Julian rode in it, he told his grandparents, "I can see better."

Instead of looking at the door, he can see out the window.

Rina Pryor's daughter Claire is 7, but at just under 4 feet tall, she's still in the car seat. Although she said she liked it, her face lit up at the possibility of leaving it behind.

"She has a couple of friends who are both taller and bigger," her mother said. "She's got a ways to go." According to the new law, Claire can move on when she turns 8 in January.

For parents of smaller children, the state now requires infants to remain in rear-facing car seats until they reach — year and 20 pounds.

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