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$25 million initiative to boost child safety seats

Money will reward states that pass tougher booster seat laws.

February 13, 2006; Posted: 12:11 p.m. EST (1711 GMT)


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NEW YORK ( - Pointing to statistics showing that only one in five children between the ages of four and eight rides in a booster seat when traveling by car, Transportation Secretary Norman Minetta announced a federal initiative to increase booster seat use.

As part of the initiative, the federal government will provide $25 million over the next four years to states that pass and enforce tougher booster seat laws. Currently, sixteen states do not have laws requiring booster seats for children of those ages, according to a Department of Transportation announcement.

Those states should "do the right thing and pass the law," Mineta said during a visit to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Booster seats are designed for children who are too large for infant or toddler seats but still too small to safely use seat belts.

"Each year, over 53,000 kids are needlessly injured in crashes. If all of these children had been riding in a booster seat, it's possible that thousands of them would have escaped their crashes virtually unharmed," Mineta said, according to a transcript of the speech.

The department will also spend $285,000 on billboard, radio and television advertising to support the awareness campaign, according to the announcement.

Mineta also introduced a website,, that explains the proper use of child booster seats.

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