Kindergarten students in Yvette Pfaff’s class at Lowell Elementary School in Boise received a lesson in civics as well as safety Wednesday when Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and a host of other guests gathered to formally sign Idaho’s new booster seat law.
The law, passed by the Idaho Legislature the previous week, requires children to be restrained in approved booster seats through age 6.
The previous law enabled children 4 years and older to use just conventional seat belts if they weighed more than 40 pounds. Most of the kindergarten students on hand for the signing will have to return to booster seats unless they celebrate their sixth birthday before July 1 when the law takes effect.
The governor and nearly two-dozen visiting adults crowded into Pfaff’s classroom and watched as reporters, photographers and television news crews documented the ceremony for posterity. Gov. Kempthorne folded his legs to fit behind an antique desk while 23 students stood behind.
To break the ice, Gov. Kempthorne asked the children if they knew the name of the dome-shaped marble building downtown where he worked. A gregarious kindergartner, eager to impress the visitors, quickly shot her hand in the air and answered “the temple.”
Speakers during the half-hour ceremony universally agreed on the importance of the legislation to protect youngsters while riding in automobiles.
Among those present were: transportation board chair Charles Winder; ITD Director Dave Ekern; Idaho State Police Director Dan Charboneau, Dr. Jerry Herschfield (head of St. Luke’s Children's Hospital), Rep. Richard Wills (R-Glenns Ferry, sponsor of the legislation) and major supporters, including representatives of the ITD Office of Traffic and Highway Safety.