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Bill Would Require Kids Under 13 to Ride in Backseat of Car

The Short of It

In January the late Sen. Tom Kennedy proposed State Senate bill 1848, which, if passed, would require kids under the age of 13 in Massachusetts to ride in the rear passenger seats of cars. Last week, a Transportation Committee hearing addressed the bill and suggested adding a $25 fine for drivers who break the proposed law.

The Lowdown

Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast legislative affairs director, supports the child passenger safety bill.

She told Yahoo Parenting: "We know from data that the backseat is at least 40 percent safer for children under 13, especially the middle of the backseat. The backseat offers greater protection and decreases the possibility of being injured by the front-seat airbag. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all recommend that children stay in the backseat until age 13."

Currently, the law in Massachusetts doesn't say where children should be positioned within the car, but it requires kids under the age of 13 to be restrained with a child passenger restraint or a properly adjusted seatbelt. And children younger than age 8 or who are shorter than 57 inches tall must wear a child passenger restraint.

The Upshot

Critics say the bill is overreaching and intrusive, and even those in favor of it acknowledge it's not always possible to keep older kids in the backseat, like if a soccer mom is toting around her kid's team.

But Janette Fennell, president and founder of the safety organization Kids and Cars, told Yahoo Parenting, "This will help raise awareness—and there shouldn't be any mystery about the fact that you must be in the backseat and buckled up back there. I tease people that if I could drive my car from the backseat, I would, because it's that much safer."

Do you agree or disagree with the bill? Do you think more states should follow suit?

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