The U.S. Senate unanimously approves the second child safety bill proposed by Sen. Peter G. Fitzgerald (R-IL) to encourage states to adopt mandatory booster seat laws. The bill also calls for auto makers to improve their vehicle safety features.

Currently, only Arkansas, California, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Washington have mandatory child booster seat laws. Studies have shown children who outgrow car seats and are too small for adult seat belts are better protected riding in booster seats, says Fitzgerald, as adult-size seat belts can cause internal injuries to small children who use them without booster seats.

The bill would provide financial incentives to states that adopt mandatory booster seat laws by 2003; require auto makers to install lap and shoulder belt assemblies in all rear seating positions, including the center seat, of passenger vehicles; expand the testing of booster seats to include kids weighing over 50 lbs. (22 kg) and extend a federal grant program to states to educate the public on the issue.