A new child safety law effective Jan. 1 will require kids in California to use a booster seat in a vehicle until they are 8 years old, according to the state's Department of Public Health.
A previous state law required car seats or booster seats for kids until they were 6 years old or weighed 60 pounds.
"This new law will help protect more children from being injured during a crash," said Patrice Christensen, a registered nurse and coordinator of the San Mateo County Emergency Medical Services injury prevention program.
Kids aged 8 years and older are ready to ride without a booster seat when the child can sit against the back of a vehicle seat with knees bent, without slouching and can comfortably stay in that position.
The lap belt should also be low on the hips and touch the upper thighs with the shoulder belt crossing the shoulder and chest without touching the child's face or neck. Drivers who are caught not complying with the new state law can face fines starting at $475.
For information on the new law or for help determining if a child still needs a booster seat, call Patrice Christensen at 650-573-3728, contact a local California Highway Patrol office or go online at www.cdph.ca.gov/vosp.
New judge appointed
A San Jose woman was appointed to a judgeship in the Santa Clara County Superior Court, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Tuesday, Dec. 27.
Shelyna V. Brown, 41, has served as an attorney in the Santa Clara County Public Defender's Office since 1997. The new judge earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Davis and a Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law.
She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Eugene M. Hyman. Brown, who is a Democrat, will receive a compensation of $178,789.
New Year's quakes
The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting that two earthquakes with preliminary magnitudes of more than 2.0 struck in Santa Clara County Sunday morning.
The first quake, with a 2.2 magnitude, struck an area 9 miles north of Morgan Hill at 6:52 a.m., and it had a depth of 3.4 miles, according to the USGS.
Seven minutes later, a 2.5 magnitude quake hit an area 3 miles north of Alum Rock, just outside of San Jose, with a depth of 1.6 miles.
As of 7:30 a.m., half a dozen people from throughout San Jose and as far as Milpitas responded on the USGS website that they felt the larger quake.