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Forum staff reports, Published May 15 2013

Increased seat-belt patrols start Monday

MOORHEAD – Extra Click It or Ticket seat-belt patrols will take to the roads in Minnesota starting Monday through June 2.

Clay County law enforcement agencies are among nearly 400 Minnesota agencies increasing patrols to encourage motorists to buckle up.

In the past three years on Minnesota roads, there were 864 traffic deaths, of which 352 were not buckled up. Of those 352 killed, 41 percent were motorists ages 16 to 29, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

Drivers and passengers, including those in the back seat, must be belted. In a crash, odds are six times greater for injury if a motorist is not buckled up.

Minnesota child car seat laws state:

•Children under age 8 should ride in a federally approved car seat or booster, unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller;

•Rear-facing infant seats: newborns to at least 1 year and 20 pounds; recommended up to age 2; it is safest to keep a child rear-facing as long as possible;

•Forward-facing toddler seats: age 2 until around age 4; it’s preferable to keep children in a harnessed restraint as long as possible;

•Booster seats: use once they have outgrown a forward-facing harnessed restraint; safest to remain in a booster until 4 feet 9 inches tall, or at least age 8; and

•Seat belts: A child is ready for an adult seat belt when they can sit with their back against the vehicle seat, knees bent comfortably and completely over the vehicle seat edge without slouching, and feet touching the floor; children 4 feet 9 inches tall or taller can correctly fit in a lap/shoulder belt.