Did you know that California has more than 170,000 thousand miles of road?
Unfortunately, those roads sometimes lead to injuries from car accidents, which is one of the leading causes of death and hospitalization among children under the age of 16.
Needless to say, it’s important to keep your kids safe by following California’s car seat laws (and ensuring you use a car seat that can hold up in an accident).
California Car Seat law
California Vehicle Code Section 27360 deals with child passenger safety. According to the law:
“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. The child shall be secured in a manner that complies with the height and weight limits specified by the manufacturer of the car seat.”
California Rear-facing Car Seat Law
According to California car seat law, a child will travel in a rear-facing car seat if they are:
- Under 2 years old
- Weighs 40 or less pounds
- Or 40 or less inches tall
California Forward-facing Car Seat Law
By law, when a child outgrows the safety weight and height limit for rear-facing car seats, you can use a forward-facing car seat. Generally, it happens when the child is 4 years old, weighs 40 pounds and is 40” tall.
Child Booster Seat Laws in California
After the child has reached the weight limit of 65 pounds, they are ready to graduate to booster seats. According to the law:
"A child is ready for a booster seat when they have outgrown the weight or height limit of their forward-facing harnesses, which is typically between 40 and 65 pounds. Read the forward-facing car seat’s owner’s manual to determine height and weight limits, and keep your child in a harnessed seat for as long as possible.”
When Can My Child Sit in the Front Seat in California?
Under the law, children who are older than 8 years and taller than 4”9’ can sit in the front seat but it is recommended by experts that you use booster seats until the age of 13.
Leaving Child in Car Law in California
California is one of those states where it gets really hot and it is illegal to leave children in the cars. California Vehicle Code Section 15620 says that no parent or guardian can leave a child under the age of 6 in a car. According to the law they have to be with be someone at least 12 years of age. Violating this law can land you in trouble and at least $100 fine.
Is it Illegal to Smoke in a Car with a Child in California?
In California, Health & Safety Code Section 118948(a) says It is Illegal to smoke in a car with a minor in it.
Taxi Car Seat Law in California
Taxis are not exempt from the law in California. Although the responsibility falls on parents first. If the parents aren’t present, then the cab driver will be held responsible.
California Law Car Seat - Replacement After Accident
California law makes it mandatory for insurance companies to replace the car seats after a crash regardless of they were occupied or not. It is always a good idea to replace your car seats after any major crash because car seats are supposed to handle only one crash. If the crash was minor, you can reuse the car seat again.
Places to Get Car Seat Help in California
Good Car Seat Safety Videos for California Parents
California child safety seat law
California Highway Patrol Child Safety Video
Cincinnati Children’s tutorial on car seat installation
An easy guide to safe car seat installation
Resources for More Info on California Car Seat Safety
With two kids of my own, I’m passionate about child safety! I’m a research nerd who’s on a mission to make the world a safer place for kids – starting with car seats!
To contact me directly please click here.