All of us know that young kids have to be strapped into a safety seat whenever they’re in a vehicle. The reason for this is because those safety seats save lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that properly installed car seats reduce the number of infant fatalities suffered during car accidents by 54 percent and lower the number of serious injuries sustained during car accidents by 71 percent.
Like other states, California has strict child safety seat laws. Lawmakers used data collected during accidents that involved seriously injured children and accidents that involved a child fatality to decide how they could make it safer for parents to transport their children.
If you’re driving with children who are two years old or younger, the child must be securely strapped into a rear-facing car seat. The child will have to use this seat until they are either 40 pounds or 40 inches tall. The seat the child uses must comply with all the manufacturer’s height and weight restrictions.
Don’t assume that because your child is older or bigger that they no longer need special seating in the car. Children who are under eight years old can only ride in the back seat of the car and they must be in a car seat or a booster seat that’s designed to handle their weight and height. State law mandates that your child use the seat until they’ve passed their eighth birthday or until they are at least 4’9” inches tall.
It’s not enough to have your child secured in the car seat. The seat must also be properly installed. It is in your best interest to visit your local police or fire station. Someone who is on duty will have the training and time to make sure your car seat is properly installed. You are free to get help each time you purchase a different car seat or need to use a different vehicle.
Failing to make sure your child is properly secured in a safely installed child car seat is an infraction. You won’t go to jail if your child isn’t properly strapped into their car seat but you’ll get a ticket. The first time you get a ticket for not having a child in a car seat it’s a $100 fine. Each child’s car seat violation ticket after the first is a $250 ticket.
No matter how big a hurry you’re in when you leave your home, always take a few seconds to make sure your child is properly secured in their car seat before you pull out of your driveway.