Child Passenger Safety Laws in The US

Making sure that your child is safe during your vehicular commute from point A to point B is not only your responsibility as a loving parent but is also a legal requirement that you have to fulfill to avoid penalties for non-compliance. Most of these laws regarding child passenger safety by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) require you to have your child harnessed in the security of a car seat that meets certain criteria such as your child’s age group, height, and weight. There are typically three kinds of car seats that your child needs to advance through before being effectively harnessed and kept safe by the car’s seat belts. Before we talk about the legal implications for non-compliance of the car seat rules across the states, let’s first go over the three kinds of seats available for children.

The Infant Car Seat

This is pretty self-explanatory; the child car seat is designed to facilitate the very youngest of children. This includes newborn babies as well; naturally, they need the most care which only these rear facing seat mountable cradles can provide. GHSA requires you to make sure that your toddler is kept safe in this seat till they weigh up to 35 pounds. In California, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, children up till the age of 2 are required to be seated in rear facing seats.

The Convertible Car Seat

The convertible is the second stage of car seats that keep your children safe after they’ve exceeded the weight limit of 35 pounds. Unlike the infant seat, this particular seat is designed to face the front. These child safety seats will keep your child safely harnessed till they weigh 65 pounds.

The Booster Seat

boosterseatpositioningThis seat is so called because it only elevates your child so that they can be effectively harnessed by the car’s seat belt. The booster seat isn’t required by law in only Florida and South Dakota. Everywhere else, you’re required to seat your child in one of these till they’re big enough to be effectively harnessed by the car’s seat belts. Once your child outgrows this seat, they’ve passed all the stages of child passenger safety that GHSA wants you to observe.

Offenses against these regulations will result in a penalty. The first offense against non-compliance of these laws will result in fines varying from anywhere between $10 to $500. In some states, the authorities may even dock down a few points off of your driver’s license for not complying with these laws. The legislation for child passenger safety exists to ensure a safe and comfortable ride for each young citizen and the penalty for not complying with them is way higher than what it takes to keep you child safe and buckled up.

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