Child Car Seats

Child Car Seats

According to California State Law, children must be seated in the rear seat of a vehicle in an appropriate car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4’9″ tall. Children must remain in a rear facing car seat until they weigh 40 pounds or more or are at least 40 inches tall.

2018 car seat laws are the same as they were in 2017. However, it is important to note that new laws took affect January 1, 2017.

2018 California Car Seat Laws

Children under the age of 8 or under 4’9″ must be secured in the appropriate car seat or booster seat in the back seat.

Children under 2 years of age shall ride in a rear-facing car seat until they weigh 40 pounds or more or are at least 40 inches tall. Children shall be secured in a manner that complies with the height and weight limits specified by the manufacturer of the car seat.

Children can move to a forward facing car seat once they have outgrown the legal limits and manufacturer’s specifications for the rear facing car seat. Keep in mind that children under the age of 2 are 500% safer in a rear-facing car seat than a forward facing car seat.

A child is ready for a booster seat when they have outgrown the weight or height limit of their forward-facing harnesses. This usually occurs around 65 pounds.

Once children reach 8 years of age OR have reached 4’9” in height, they may graduate from the booster seat to a safety belt, however, children are safest in a booster seat until they are 4’9″.

All passengers of all ages are subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt law.

The January 1, 2017 Car Seat Law

Effective January 1, 2017, the State of California mandated that children under 2 years of age shall ride in a rear-facing car seat unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds OR is 40 or more inches tall. This is because children cannot support their heads in accidents. Science and statistics show us that injuries are drastically reduced when children are in rear facing car seats until they are 24 months of age.

Additional Resources

Child Safety Belt and Passenger Restraint Requirements – California Vehicle Code Section 273630

Exceptions for emergencies, medical conditions, emergency vehicles and vehicles with no rear seats -California Vehicle Code Section 27363 California

DMV’s Driver Handbook’s page on Child Restraints

California Highway Patrol also put together this great video: https://youtu.be/630wwp4Uz88