The clever answer would be that a 5 year old is not criminally accountable. The best answer would be to punish the parent and to create some awareness in the minds of both parent and child of the importance of wearing of seatbelts.
I have come across an interesting story from Bureau News titled “New Mexico 5-year-old who refused to use seat belt completes traffic safety class”.
I would like to quote:
“A New Mexico 5-year-old sentenced to traffic safety class after refusing to wear a seat belt has reformed. David Kirk-Peet completed the class Thursday with a certificate. He promised to buckle up, saying: “You want to get safe.”
Magistrate Buddy Sanchez sentenced David and his mother to the class after an officer spotted the boy unbuckling his seat belt earlier this year. His mother received a ticket for failing to restrain him. She asked the officer to speak to David about the importance of seat belts because he constantly unbuckled.
The ticket landed her in Sanchez’s courtroom, where she explained the problem.”
This not only confirms the importance of wearing seat belts – but also the need for road safety education from an early age. We need to inform and educate our children to buckle up before we start the engine. This would save not only many young lives –but also many tears and regret!