The Law for Child Car Seats in California

June 18, 2022 - 3:05 pm - 3 min read

Traveling with a child in California requires parents or legal guardians to abide by the state’s strict car seat laws. These laws state that children must be secured in an appropriate car seat or booster seat while riding in vehicles. To avoid penalties and ensure your child’s safety, you need to know the regulations for child car seats in California.

The Five LSI Keywords:

Before discussing the law for child car seats in California, let us first identify the five LSI keywords that we will be using in this article. These keywords are:

1. Car seat laws in California
2. Safety regulations for child car seats
3. Age and weight restrictions for children
4. Rear-facing car seats
5. Booster seats

Car Seat Laws in California

California’s car seat laws are strict, with provisions that apply to infants, toddlers, and older children. Car seat usage is mandated for all children under the age of eight, or those who are under 4’9″ in height. Children cannot sit in the front seat if the vehicle has an active passenger airbag unless they’re in an appropriate rear-facing restraint system.

Safety Regulations for Child Car Seats

The law requires parents to use appropriate car seats or booster seats that comply with federal safety regulations. Child car seats must carry a label with the manufacturer’s name, the model number, and the date of manufacture. Parents must follow all guidelines provided by the car seat manufacturer and the guidelines for the child’s weight, height, and age.

Age and Weight Restrictions for Children

Children below two years old must use a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of the vehicle. If the child has reached two years of age, they may switch to a forward-facing car seat. However, it is recommended to keep children in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer.

For children who have outgrown a forward-facing car seat, they may use a booster seat in the back seat of the vehicle until they are eight years old or 4’9″ tall. After these milestones are reached, children can use adult seat belts in the back seat, but they should still ride in the back seat until they reach the age of 12.

Rear-Facing Car Seats

Rear-facing car seats in the back seat provide the best protection for babies and toddlers in a crash. This car seat type distributes the force of an impact over the whole body and limits the violent motion of the head, neck, and spine. Infants below one year old or weighing less than 20 pounds should use a rear-facing car seat.

Booster Seats

Booster seats, which are placed in the back seat of the vehicle, use the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt systems. They elevate the child so that the car’s restraint system can fit them correctly. Children needing booster seats are those aged four to eight who weigh less than 80 pounds and are less than 4’9″ tall.


The law for child car seats in California aims to keep children safe while traveling in vehicles. By following the car seat laws outlined here, parents can avoid penalties and protect their children in case of an accident. Remember to check car seat manufacturer guidelines, as well as comply with federal safety regulations, to ensure that your child’s car seat is appropriate for their age, weight, and height. With all these in mind, you can ensure your child’s safety and compliance with the law for child car seats in California.


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