As parents, protecting our children is our most critical priority. This consists of making sure that each child is properly secured in an age-, height- and weight-appropriate child child car seat when on the highway.
Here’s another important piece of advice: when reviewing child safety tips, know the law.
In all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands, what the law states requires child safety seats for infants and children fitting specific criteria.
48 states and the District of Puerto and Columbia Rico require booster seats or another appropriate devices for children who have outgrown their child safety seats but are still too small to securely use an adult seat belt. Only two South, states and Florida Dakota, lack booster seat laws.
Car seats – Map showing age in which kids has to be in restraint or booster seat (IIHS)
Child passenger restraint laws vary
What your state requires to comply with child passenger restraint laws may be a bit diverse from the laws in the next state over, or perhaps the laws from the state(s) where you’ll go on a holiday trip or summer vacation.
In general, these laws vary based on the age, height and weight of the child or children. Laws also typically cover three child developmental stages:
Infants – use rear-facing infant seats
Toddlers – use forward-facing child safety seats
Teenagers – use booster seats
Kids ride in the rear of the vehicle
Many state laws stipulate that children remain in the rear of your vehicle as long as possible, since this is the safest place for children to ride.
Most states permit a kid that meets age, height or weight requirement to use an adult safety belt, but still recommend the child stays in the back seat in the vehicle for max protection.
points and Fines might be levied
Drivers who do not comply with child passenger restraint laws can be hit with a fine, as with any car safety law infraction. These range from $10 to $500 for a first-time offense.
There’s also the issue of points to contend with. Eight states (Alaska, Alabama, Nebraska, Indiana, Florida and California New York and North Dakota) and the District of Columbia use driver’s license points as an additional penalty for drivers’ noncompliance with the law.
To review a summary of child passenger safety laws in most 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Usa Virgin Islands check out this list from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).