In the United States, every state has some type of child car seat law that states whether or not child car seats are required and for whom they are mandatory. They may also include regulations for using other types of child restraints, such as booster seats. Though each state does have child care seat laws, the particular requirements vary from state to state. In one state, parents may be required to have children in child restraint systems until they are seven years old while others may require car seats for children who are three years old or younger. Additionally, each state may have different laws that cover financial penalties for those who fail to restrain children properly.
Child car seats help to save lives. Collisions are one of the top causes of death for children under the age of 14. As such, each state has laws that require parents to restrain their children in car seats when they are below a certain age. When these laws are followed, children may have a better chance of surviving if they are involved in a collision.
Since child car seat laws are different in every state, a person may do well to learn the laws in his jurisdiction before buckling a child into his car. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website provides information about child restraint laws for every state. This may be useful not only for staying on the right side of the law in one's state, but also for checking the requirements a person may have to meet when traveling in another area. This site updates its listing periodically so that people are able to obtain the most current information.
Interestingly, some states have more restrictive child car seat laws than others. For example, in Pennsylvania, children who are seven years old or younger have to be in a child restraint. Those who are between the ages of four and seven years old may use booster seats instead of car seats, however. In Florida, on the other hand, children only have to be in child restraints if they are four years old or younger and weigh less than 40 pounds (18.14 kilograms). If a person does not obey these child car seat laws, he may face financial penalties.
Though child car seat laws must be obeyed and do provide good guidelines to follow, a person may do well to ask his doctor's advice before he decides how to restrain his child. In some cases, a child may be very small and need a car seat longer than normal, despite being old enough to move to using the adult seat belt. Additionally, a person may visit a Child Passenger Safety Inspection Station to learn whether his child's car seat is installed properly.