Child safety advocates slam car-seat bill they say will endanger kids


Child safety advocates are slamming legislation they say would endanger children and weaken Florida’s newly passed child passenger safety law, on the books only a year.

SB 1394, filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, officially defines the terms “service patrol vehicle” and “driver-assistive truck platooning technology.”

However, it’s the language referring to children that’s sparking outraged news releases sent to reporters’  inboxes.

Certified child passenger safety technician Grainne Kelly has exclaimed, “This filed legislation means children aged four through five years would not require a separate carrier, integrated child seat or a child booster seat with a safety belt, when the child is being transported by a child care facility, family day care home or a large family child care home, or after-school program.

“The safety of children should not be subject to lack of planning by taxi firms or parents. If a child is going swimming, you bring swimming trunks. If you don’t have trunks you don’t swim, simple as that. The same should be said for car seats. If you don’t have one, the child doesn’t travel.”

In January 2014, Florida became the 49th state in the nation to pass a law requiring that children must ride in a crash-tested, federally approved car seat or booster seat until they turn 6. In past years, 4- and 5-year-olds could wear a seat belt only. The change came after years of prodding and advocacy from AAA and other groups.

Melissa Ross

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at [email protected]


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