Son writes book about Dr. Seatbelt’s legacy

The Murfreesboro Post, May 31, 2008

More than 8,700 children are alive today thanks to the tireless lobbying efforts of the late pediatrician Murfreesboro Dr. Robert Sanders.

Sanders and his wife, Pat, lobbied the Tennessee Legislature for several years to pass the nations first child passenger seat law in 1977.  The law was enacted in 1978. Dr. Sanders, who worked as Rutherford County Health Departments director, died two years ago.

After his death, his son, Robert Sanders Jr., decided to write a book about his fathers legacy.  His book, entitled Dr. Seat Belt. The Life of Robert S. Sanders M.D. Pioneer in Child Advocacy Safety, took two years to write.

It occurred to me to write this book to portray how much of a landmark event the child passenger event was, Sanders said.

Since 1977, 8,700 lives were saved thanks to the pioneering efforts of my father.  He is indirectly responsible for that many lives being saved, which is an accomplishment.

To research the book, Sanders interviewed his mother, Pat, who worked by her husbands side lobbying for the law. He recorded and transcribed their conversations.  He used oral histories from the Gore Center at MTSU and interviewed Bob Grayson from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The book begins with the Sanders ancestry and gives a biography of Dr. Sanders early childhood, medical school and service in the U.S. Army. The book describes Dr. Sanders 25 years with the health department where he served as county medical examiner. The book documents the lobbying efforts to pass the Child Protection Act. People interested in purchasing the book may order it from or may contact Sanders at 896-0255 or at

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