New Booster Seat Law Comes With Hefty Fine for Those Who Don't Follow


kid with booster seatWhenever a law changes, there are always going to be people who get annoyed and not want to follow that law. But when it comes to car seats and booster seats, this is serious business. This is what can protect your child from being harmed or killed in a car accident. Even the safest drivers have accidents -- that's why they are called accidents. Plus, you do have to worry about all the other drivers on the road who don't care about your child's safety as much as you do. This new booster seat law, going into effect on January 1st in California, may save hundreds of thousands of kids' lives.

Why wouldn't we want to follow it? Sure, it may make your child a little annoyed, but as most car seat advocates say, an annoyed kid is much better than a child who is dead.

The previous law for boosters in California was that children remain in a booster seat until the age of 6 or weighed 60 pounds. Here's what you need to know about the new law, to keep your kid safe and avoid being fined.

Instead of 6-years-old, the booster age is raised to 8-years-old. That means if your kid is 7 and has been out of a booster, he must go back into one. How can you get that to happen? Make it a fun shopping event. Educate your kid on why it's important. It's up to us as parents to keep our kids safe, and let our kids know it's "cool" to be safe.

Kids under the age of 8 years old, or under 4 feet 9 inches tall, must be properly buckled into a car or booster seat, and put in the back seat. Additionally, children who are 8 or older and not tall enough for the seat belt to fit properly must also ride in a booster or car seat.

This law isn't to create inconvenience, it's to keep your child alive and unhurt. And for those who choose not to follow it, not only are they endangering their child, they face fines up to $475.

In case you need a refresher on when your child is cleared to sit with only an adult seat belt, the California Office of Child Safety offers this:

  • They can sit against the vehicle seat back with their knees bent without slouching and can comfortably stay in this position throughout the trip.
  • The lap belt is low on the hips touching the upper thighs and the shoulder belt crosses the chest, but is not on the face or neck.
  • Never let your child put the shoulder belt behind their arm or back. In a crash, the child could sustain major injuries including head and spinal cord injuries.
  • If the child is putting the shoulder belt behind them, this is a sign that they still need a booster.

Colorado has recently enforced this change as well, so hopefully all the other states will follow. But remember, even if it isn't yet law in your state, following it is the safer thing to do to protect your kids.

What do you think of this law? Please say you will be following it.

Image via Jinx!/Flickr

car seat safety, safety


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Katsa... Katsandkids

I think its great and hope more states follow CA example and work on new laws to keep children safe

nonmember avatar Laura

as an RN in pediatric and neonatal area of practices I can attest that nothing is more sad, more heart breaking than a pediatric MVA trauma coming in as a result of a child NOT being properly restrained in the appropriate seat. It is times like those, patients like those that lead me to go home and hug my own children perhaps too hard and too long.
This is worth any perceived inconvenience for parent or child. Worth all the whining and cries of protests from the child...the living child.
I have put my youngest child back into a booster seat in spite of his protests...he'll live.

Momma... MommaGreenhalge

I love that they included the 5 step test with this law.  I am glad that more states are tightening up on the laws, but I think education will go further than legislation.  The combination is good.  

phoen... phoenixmom2011

At this rate we will be driving our sixteen year olds to school in booster seats. I understand that saftey is number one and yes I will follow the laws but really, it is not a matter of it being a pain in the butt but more of a really where/when does it stop?

Momma... MommaGreenhalge

I'm pretty sure the 5 step test included exactly where it stops.  Your kid will no longer need to be in a booster seat when they can sit properly and the seatbelt fits properly.  Which for most kids is around age 8 and 4'9".

perikeet perikeet

My oldest is 3 so no worries, but I am confused about the "age 8 but under 4'9" " - what if your kids are vertically challenged?  At what age does someone 4'9" qualify to sit without a booster? 18?  Honestly I'm 5'1" and I hate sitting in the back seat for how the seatbelt fits, should I get a booster?

yayhe... yayheadstart

i'm with you perikeet! i'm short! do i need a booster?

nonmember avatar Shelly

I would have been in a booster until 10th grade by the laws. That's a bit ridiculous...


If an adult would fit the seat belt better with a booster, they why wouldn't you want to use one? I know that really isn't feasible right now, but I hope that someday either the auto manufactures step up and make seats that will fit more body types or the car seat manufactures will start making seats that will comfortably fit adults.  

phoen... phoenixmom2011

Perikeet and yayheadstart, that is my point, my mom who is in her sixties has friends under four nine, my son will probably surpass the height limit before then.

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