Pawlenty signs Brynn bill

Dixie and Brynn Duncan

Brynn Duncan will not benefit, but her family hopes a new law will prevent what happened to the Moorhead girl from happening to others.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty Friday night signed a bill requiring children up to 8 years old and 4-foot-9 tall to use proper child restraint systems, such as booster seats. Current law requires such restraints for children younger than 4.

Brynn’s mother, Dixie, told House and Senate committees earlier this year the law could save lives and serious injury.

"Pass this law for Brynn," Dixie Duncan pleaded to a Senate committee.

Her daughter, now 8, was hurt in an August 2008 Fergus Falls traffic accident, sustaining severe spinal cord injuries. The girl sat in a wheelchair while her mother testified.

The girl’s grandmother, who was driving the car in which Brynn was riding, told senators that the law could have prevented guilt she now feels.

"Probably the two saddest words we only say are ‘if only,’" she told committee members. "Don’t let other people say ‘if only.’"

A spokeswoman for AAA Minnesota-Iowa said that an adult seat belt could cause more injury, or at the least not provide adequate protection.

The new law would allow for fines of up to $50 for not using property restraints. But the fine would be waived within two weeks if the motorists proves he purchased a proper safety system.

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