Concern expressed over safety seat shortage - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Concern expressed over safety seat shortage

by Heather Hauswirth

Guam - Child safety restraint seats may be sold out, but that doesn't mean that residents are exempt from following the newly-implemented seatbelt law.  Because of the shortage and an influx of concerned phone calls a meeting was held this morning regarding compliance.

Inundated with calls from residents voicing frustration about not being able to purchase a child safety restraint seat anywhere on island, Democrat lawmaker Tina Rose Muna-Barnes called a meeting for stakeholders in her office earlier today.  "The law is the law and we have to continue to adhere to that," she said.

The seatbelt law, introduced by Senator Tom Ada, which went into effect January 1, not only mandates that all individuals where a seatbelt, it also includes a provision that says that children between the ages of 4 and 11 under 4'9" tall must be in a booster seat. The Guam Police Department's Office of Highway Patrol are the main enforcers of the law on the road. 

Sergeant Mike Aguon is from that division.  "GPD are pulling people over for not having their child restraint and we are talking to them and lets say we pull people over for speeding and we notice a child in the back isn't in a restraint, well we are using our discretion to see why this individual isn't in a child restraint seat," he said.

Currently child safety restraint seats are sold at Kmart for between $24.99 to $77, at Cost-U-Less for $39.99 and at the Navy Exchange for between $22.99 and $144.99. All three locations say they hope to get in their next shipment by the end of the month, but no one was able to confirm an exact date at this point. The Navy Exchange is the only vendor taking names.

GPD has said that the only exemption they would be willing to accept is an individual with a valid medical reason.  If you are fortunate enough to have a child safety restraint seat and are not sure whether or not it has been properly installed, residents can go to GPD or the Department of Public Works to make sure they have the proper installations.

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