Kids in cars, and the parents who stepped away…

Normally I am the first to become frustrated when I hear talk of yet another crazy law regarding how I am permitted to travel with my children. I still wonder which car seat company paid off the Utah State legislature to insist my future 7 year old be in a booster seat instead of using the seat belt lowering device my car manufacturer designed for the same purpose. I would also love to remove all forms of plastic from my wallet in an attempt to save money–if it weren’t for the fact that the law would require me to drive to a gas pump, get all three of my kids out of their car seats, go in and prepay, put them back in the car while I pump gas (so they don’t get hit by anyone in the parking lot), bring them all back in to the cashier to get my change (assuming of course that I don’t have to pay extra for anything they knocked over or opened while we were waiting in line) and then buckle them properly in their car seats again. However, this time I think a new law would have been nice.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune today the House defeated a bill that would make leaving children under 12 years old in a car unattended a Class C misdemeanor.

As previously mentioned, my gut reaction to this is to fight over-legislation, however this particular bill requires a closer look. Right now there are much worse penalties for leaving children unattended in cars. This law would potentially allow me to leave the kids in the car while I run in to pay for my gas (basically, I would risk a traffic ticket instead of child neglect/abuse charges). Personally, I think this sounds like a step in the right direction.

The State House of Representatives apparently thought this law would be encroaching on parental rights. I’m curious what rights they thought we would be losing, since the explanation appears to be giving me a little more leeway–not less. I wonder if they actually did their homework on this one to find out what is in the existing law before they decided to vote this one down.

I guess I’ll keep plastic in my wallet and leave my seat belt shoulder strap adjuster unused for now.

Note: My comment about a car seat company paying off the legislature is purely sarcastic and not intended to be an accusation.