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Car Seat, Booster Seat & Seat Belt Laws in California

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 37,000 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes throughout the U.S. last year alone; 47% of those people were not wearing seat belts.

Seat belts are the best defense against aggressive, impaired, and distracted drivers. At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton, California car accident attorneys understand that negligent driving is everywhere on our roadways, and in most cases is completely unpredictable.

While we cannot control how other drivers operate their vehicles, buckling up inside our cars reduces the risk of fatal injuries by 45%, and decreases moderate to critical injuries by 50%, making it the single most effective thing we can do to protect ourselves in a crash.

When drivers and passengers understand our California car seat, booster seat, and seat belt laws, they can keep themselves and their occupants safer than those who improperly use these restraints when an accident does occur.

What Are California’s Car Seat Laws?

According to the California State Law, all children must be seated in the rear seat of a vehicle in an appropriate car seat or booster seat when they are under the age of eight years old, or under 4’9” tall.

Our California car seat laws require all children to be secured in compliance with the manufacturer’s height and weight limits that accompany the car or booster seat.

Children must ride in a rear-facing car seat if they are:

  • Two years of age and younger
  • Weigh less than 40 pounds
  • Under 40 inches tall

Children may move to a forward-facing car seat after outgrowing the rear-facing car seat’s legal limits and manufacturer’s specifications

When Can A Child Graduate from a Car Seat to a Booster Seat?

A child can move from a car seat to a booster seat when they have outgrown the weight or height limit of their forward-facing harnesses. While each child grows are a different rate, the move from a car seat to a booster seat typically occurs once the child weighs approximately 65 pounds.

When Can A Child Start Using a Seat Belt Instead of a Booster Seat?

To graduate from a booster seat to seat belt use, children must be at least 4’9” tall or over the age of eight years old. When considering the move from a booster seat to a seat belt, the height of the child is more important than their age.

What Are California’s Seat Belt Laws?

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, all passengers of all ages are required to wear a seat belt while traveling inside a moving vehicle.

Our mandatory seat belt law increases the chances of survival in most types of collisions, which is why it is important to ensure you are always wearing the seat belt properly.

That includes:

  • Wearing the shoulder harness across the shoulder and chest with minimal slack
  • Never wear the shoulder harness under the arm or behind the back
  • Wearing the lap belt so that it is snug and lies low across the hips after fastening

Even though they may not provide a comfortable fit, pregnant women should also wear seat belts to keep the mother and baby safer should a collision occur.

Pregnancy tip: Wear the lap belt as low as possible under the abdomen and adjust the shoulder strap to be placed between the breasts and to the side of the baby bump.

Have You Been Hurt in a California Car Crash?

Wearing a seat belt can save your life, but it may not protect your entire body during a car accident. If you have been hurt in a vehicle collision with a negligent driver, contact our personal injury attorneys in San Joaquin County and Amador County today at Redkey Gordon by calling (209) 267-1685 to discuss your case during a free consultation.