California Car Seat Laws

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One of the safest choices that parents can make is to properly use car seats for their children. Car seats are designed with safety in mind. The regular seats inside of a vehicle are not designed to keep a child safe in the event of a Long Beach car accident. Car seats are crucial, which is why we want to review the main car seat laws in the state of California. Not only is it illegal to fail to use a car seat, but it is also incredibly dangerous. In California, the child safety belt and passenger restraint laws were updated and took effect on January 1, 2017.

The California Car Seat Update

The new law that took effect in 2017 says that any children under the age of eight must sit in a child passenger restraint system in the back seat of a vehicle. Additionally, any children under the age of two must be positioned in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system, unless that child is at least 40 inches tall or weighs 40 pounds. The reality is that very few children reach that size by the age of two, so nearly every child in this age range will need to be in a rear-facing facing child seat.

There are various exceptions to this new law. The exception that applies in many circumstances has to do with a child under the age of eight who has reached 4 feet, 9 inches tall. If you are thinking that these children would have to be particularly tall for that age, you would be correct. However, when a child has reached that height before the age of 8, they will not have to use any child restraint system.

Overall, the new law does grant leeway to the courts when it comes to exceptions. The law specifically says: “The court may exempt from the requirements of this article any class of child by age, weight, or size if it is determined that the use of a child passenger restraint system would be impractical by reason of physical unfitness, medical condition, or size.”

What are the Child Seat Law Violation Penalties in California

In the state of California, a person will be fined $100 for their first violation of the child car seat law. A second offense will result in a $250 fine. For either a first or second offense, if a person establishes to the court that they are economically disadvantaged, the court is allowed to waive the fine in favor of the person taking a community education program on child car seats.

What Happens in Rental or Ridesharing Vehicles?

The law in California requires that rental car companies provide access to car seat systems if the person renting the car does not have one. This law will only apply if a child is aged eight or younger.

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are popular in California. Rideshare services are also subject to the law and should provide child restraint systems if a person does not have one. However, that is not always what happens. Programs like Uber Family and Uber Car Seat are available in certain cities, and they allow a rider to order a vehicle with a child safety seat for an additional charge. Lyft policy specifically states that riders are required to provide their own car seats if they want their child to ride along.