Even the most minor car accidents present the possibility of injuries to passengers. That is why parents should take the proper precautions to keep their children safe while traveling by car.
Safety precautions for children are a good idea and are also a legal requirement in California. While you might know that keeping your kids safe is smart, many California parents are unsure about the child car seat laws in the state.
If you have been involved in a car accident, it is vital to speak with a legal representative. You may be owed significant financial damages to cover the costs and losses resulting from your crash.
Understanding Child Car Seat Laws in California
The state of California legislature detailed the child car seat regulations in California Vehicle Code, Section 27360. Children two years of age and younger must ride in a rear-facing car seat.
These children should be securely seated in a convertible car seat or an infant car seat. Exceptions exist for children who exceed 40 pounds or 40 inches in height.
Facing a car seat toward the back of the vehicle drastically reduces the likelihood that children will experience injuries in the event of a crash. Almost all modern convertible car seats can accommodate children weighing 40 pounds or less.
Some recent research indicates that children are safest when they remain in a harnessed car seat until they are five years old. Exceptions exist for children over 40 pounds and those who can sit properly throughout the entirety of the trip.
Booster Seat Laws in California
The State of California also has certain regulations relating to the use of booster seats. The booster seat laws in California require kids to use a booster seat or harnessed car seat if they are below the age of eight.
Exceptions exist for children who are at least 4′9″ tall. You should always be aware of the car seat manufacturer’s instructions for using the product.
Most children are not the proper size for using an adult seat belt until they reach the age of ten, at least. Standard passenger vehicles are equipped with seat belts intended to fit adults of at least 165 pounds.
California Front Seat Laws
In California, children are not permitted to ride in the front seat of a passenger vehicle until they are at least eight years of age. This is also the age at which kids can legally ride without a booster seat.
While this is legally permitted, many vehicle manufacturers suggest that children under 13 should ride in the back seat. This is because their bodies are not fully developed and can be easily injured in the event of a crash.
For instance, children’s hip bones do not finish developing until they are between 12 and 13 years old. This can cause the seat belt to ride up and cause internal damage if a collision occurs.
Also, kids’ sternums (or breast bones) do not fully develop until they are at least 11 years old. While children’s bones are still forming, they are at a higher risk for catastrophic injuries in a car accident.
Understanding California child safety seat laws is very important when traveling in the state. However, your child’s security is even more important than complying with the minimum regulatory requirements.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you have questions regarding child safety seat laws following a traffic accident in Los Angeles, CA, contact a knowledgeable legal professional. Speaking with an attorney can ensure that you pursue all the financial compensation you are owed after a collision.