What Are the Current Car Seat Rules?

Driving on the road can be dangerous, especially because you can’t control what other drivers do. However, you can control what happens in your own vehicle. Adhering to car seat regulations can help reduce the risks of injury and death among young children.

The California Department of Public Health estimates that over 1,000 children, between the ages of 1 and 12, die each year because of motor vehicle crashes. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 38% of children ages 12 years and younger who died in 2013 car crashes were not properly buckled. Another CDC study found that an average of 618,000 children rode in a car without a car seat or booster seat.

Research Backs Up the Use of Booster / Car Seats

Research shows that using car seats can reduce the risks of injury and death by 71% in infants and 54% in toddlers. According to a report from American Academy of Pediatrics, using booster seats for children between 4 and 8 reduces the risks of injury by 45%. Moreover, an assessment by the Partners for Child Passenger Safety research team found that general seat belt use decreases the risk by half for all other age groups. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also notes that general seat belt use decreases the risk by half for all other age groups.

Breaking Down the Car Seat Laws in California

Given how prevalent car seats are to child safety, it is important to know the laws in your area.

Current California car seat laws dictate that:

  • Children under the age of 8 must be properly secured in a car seat or booster seat.
  • Children under the age of 2 or who weigh less than 40 pounds or 40 inches must ride in a rear-facing car seat. (Effective January 1, 2017).
  • Children who are 8 years old or are 4’9” may be secured by a safety belt in the back seat.
  • Passengers 16 years and older are subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt law.

The next time you and your child travel somewhere, make sure to buckle them up properly! As a rule, it is important to follow the car seat manufacturer’s height and weight requirement. By increasing your knowledge of California’s car seat laws, you can be all the more empowered to keep your children safe when on the road.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.