According to the National Center for Health Statistics, motor vehicle crashes in the United States are the leading cause of death for kids between the ages of three and 14. All the more reason for strict child safety seat laws.
Each State Has a Child Safety Seat Law
Currently, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have some form of a child safety seat law, and all but three states mandate booster seats for kids who are too big for safety seats, but too small for adult seat belts.
The actual laws vary by state based on:
Generally, most states require all kids younger than eight to ride in a federally approved child safety seat or booster that’s properly secured. Exemptions are usually granted to kids exceeding four feet and nine inches.
Research Safety Laws Before You Travel
Don’t think visiting from out of state provides immunity. Law enforcement will not accept, “I didn’t know your state’s traffic laws!” as an excuse. It’s your responsibility to educate yourself of a state’s safety laws before visiting.
Properly Using Your Child Safety Seat
Legal compliance requires more than just having a car seat – it must also be properly secured.
To help with this, all states provide Child Car Seat Inspection Stations. In most situations, a certified inspector will inspect your child safety seat, free of charge. Play it safe and call before visiting. Many inspection stations require an appointment.
If visiting a Child Car Seat Inspection Station seems frivolous, weigh the consequences. Not only will your child’s safety be at risk, but also your legal standing. Penalties for improperly secured safety seats are stiff. First time offenders in Nevada can be fined up to $500. Get caught in California and you’ll be assessed points and slapped with a $435 traffic ticket fine.