New addition: Effective January 1, 2017, children under 2-years old must be rearfacing unless they weigh 40 pounds or more, or are 40 inches tall or more.
Current law: Children under age 8 must be buckled into a car seat or booster in the back seat. Children age 8 or older, or who are 4’9” or taller, may use the vehicle seat belt if it fits properly with the lap belt low on the hips, touching the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt crossing the center of the chest. If children are not tall enough for proper belt fit, they must ride in a booster or car seat. Everyone in the car must be properly buckled up.
Fines and Penalties: For each child under 16 who is not properly secured, parents (if in the car) or drivers can be fined more than $500 and get a point on their driving records.
Kaitlyn’s Law: It’s against California law to leave a child under the age of seven alone in the car without the supervision of a person at least 12 years old if:
- The keys are in the ignition or the car is running, or
- There is a significant risk to the child.
Most children will outgrow an infant seat before age 1:
- The next step is a convertible car seat.
- Rear-facing is 5 times safer than forward-facing.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ride rear-facing to the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
Keep your children safe. It’s the law! For answers to your child safety seat questions, contact your local health department or visit cdph.ca.gov/vosp.