Laws and Recommendations for Car Seat Safety
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. Proper use of car seats drastically reduces the risk of serious and fatal injuries. It is safest for all children to travel in the rear seat. Any rear facing car seat MUST be properly installed in the rear seat.
Birth-12 months: all infants under 12 months should be rear facing.
1-3 years: it is safest to keep your child rear facing in this age group. Keeping a child rear facing until they reach the top height or weight limit for the car seat is the safest way for them to travel. Once they reach the height/weight limit for the car seat they can travel in a forward facing car seat with a harness.
4-7 years: can be in a forward facing seat with a harness. When they reach the top height/weight limit for the car seat they can sit in a booster seat with a seat belt.
8-12 years: keep your child in a booster with seat belt until they are big enough to ﬁt in a seat belt properly. The lap belt should lie snugly across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest.
Virginia's Child Restraint Device Law
- A proper car seat/booster is required for children through their 8th birthday.
- Rear facing car seats must be placed in the rear seat
- Children cannot ride unrestrained in the rear cargo area of vehicles
- Children 8-18 must be belted correctly in seat belts