Car and Booster Seat Laws - Ultimate Guide For California

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Californa Car and Booster Seat Laws

Are you a parent living in California? Looking for the most up-to-date information on car and booster seat laws? If so, then you're in luck. The ultimate guide to California car and booster seat laws is right here!
As a parent, staying current on these laws can be challenging with all the changes that come into effect each year.
From finding out if kids as young as two need to be using boosters or looking at maximum weight limits for harnesses - it can certainly be overwhelming!
But have no fear — this ultimate guide will provide you with all the necessary details about California's car and booster seat law regulations so that you know exactly what is required to keep your family safe while traveling.
Let's dive deeper into the car and booster seat laws in California.

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What are The Laws For Car Seats in California?

There are several laws for car seats in California according to different conditions.

According to California Vehicle Code Section 27360:

"Children must be in a proper child restraint (booster seat or safety seat) until they reach at least eight years old, and this law applies to the backseat. Exceptions: A child under 8 years of age but who is 4'9" or taller may use a regular seatbelt if it fits properly."

According to Vehicle Code Section 27363:

"Parents, legal guardians, or drivers who transport children under two years old on highways in motor vehicles must be buckled into a rear-facing child passenger system of restraints that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards, unless the child weight reach at least 40 pounds (19 Kgs) or is 40 inches tall."

According to Vehicle Code Section 27360.5

"This law requires that children who are 8 years or older but under 16 be properly secured in a child restraint or a vehicle safety belt that fits."


Everyone faces different conditions according to their situations, child age, and physique.
So the law may be effected differently upon them.
After reading the above laws, we've covered some general conditions evolving in your mind.

Rear-Facing Car Seat Law - For Child Under 2 Years

California car seat law requires that rear-facing car seats be used to protect your young children when traveling in a vehicle.
This is mandated for children under two years old and those meeting age height and weight limits - 40 pounds or 40 inches or less.
Ensure you have the proper safety seat and follow protocols like using seat belts to secure the child properly.

Forward-Facing Car Seats Law

When a child has outgrown the rear-facing car seat's height and weight limits, it's important to transition them into forward-facing safety seats, complete with a seat belt, before taking them for any ride.
Even if your child meets the age requirement of being at least four years old, double-check all the requirements, including weight and height limits, before switching from rear to forward facing.

No More Special Car Seat

As soon as children reach 8 years old or 4'9" in height, they may have graduated from the booster seat to the regular headrest/safety belt.

What is the Legal Front Seat Age for Children

In California, children aged 8 and taller than 4" 9' are legally allowed to precisely sit in the front seat; however, booster seats are highly recommended until age 13.
This is because booster seats elevate the child so that a properly fitted seat belt can be worn properly across them according to the state's car safety laws.
Booster seats also help protect smaller kids from serious injuries if a collision occurs.

Laws for Child Booster Seats

According to Law:

"Children need a booster seat once they have reached the height or weight limits of their forward-facing harnesses. The average limits are between 40-65 pounds, but it is best to check the car seat's owner manual."
As they grow up, kids can start to get excited about booster seats.
When their weight or height exceeds the weight or height limit of their forward-facing harness, typically between 40 and 65 pounds, it's time to look out for booster seats that conform to California car seat laws.
Remember, booster seats are designed for seat belts, so always check the owner's manual for height and weight limits.

The Law Surrounding Leaving Children in Cars

It is illegal to leave children under six unattended, even if they are strapped into a seat.
The law also specifies the specific height and weight limits for infant car seats and that all passengers must be properly buckled with seatbelts.
Ignoring these laws can result in hefty fines or worse.
It's important to understand California's infant car seat laws and keep your children safe!

According To California Vehicle Code Section 15620

"Kaitlyn's Law, or California Vehicle Code section 15620(a), forbids anyone from leaving a child that is under the age of six unattended in a motor vehicle without supervision by someone aged 12 years or older."

The Law for Smoking in a Car with a Child

Smoking in a motor vehicle while carrying a minor is an infraction in California, strictly enforced by law.
The California Highway Patrol doesn't want drivers to take any risks; they want drivers and passengers to be safe and secure when buckling up the lap belt and having a child sit in the car.
Smoking during these situations can put everyone at risk, so it's best to avoid lighting those cigarettes when children are inside the car.

What are The Consequences Of Not Following Car and Booster Seat Laws in California?

The consequences for not following California Car and Booster Seats laws can be very serious.
If a driver is caught driving without properly restraining their child, they can face fines of up to $500 and may even be issued a citation for child endangerment.
Additionally, if a car accident occurs due to the improper use of a car seat or booster seat, the driver can be held liable or responsible for any injuries or damages to the child.
It is important to remember that Car and Booster Seat laws in California are put into place for a reason: to ensure the safety of our children.
Therefore, it is too important to be aware of California's Car and Booster Seat laws and always ensure that your child is properly restrained when riding in a car.

How Can I Find The Right Car Seat or Car Booster Seat For My Child's Age and Weight?

Finding the right car seat or booster seat for your child is important for their safety and security.
The best method/way to do this is by consulting Car Seat Laws in California, which will provide you with information on the age and weight limits for all types of car seats available in the state.
Once you have found a suitable car seat or booster seat, you should always read the owner's manual before using it.
The Car Seat laws in California also require that your child use a Car Seat or car Booster Seat until they are 8 years old or 57 inches in height, whichever comes first.

Additional Tips For Keeping Children Safe in the Car

  • Make sure your children/child is properly restrained in a car seat or booster seat
  • Consult Car Seat Laws in California to find the right car seat or car booster seat for your child
  • Always read the owner's manual before using a car seat or booster seat
  • Keep children away from cigarettes and smoking in cars
  • Follow Car and Booster Seat laws in California to avoid fines or citations
  • Be aware of the consequences for not following Car and Booster Seat laws in California

By following California Car and Booster Seats laws, you can ensure that your children are safe and secure when riding in a car.


That's all you need to know about California's car and booster seat laws. These tips will help keep your children safe while you're on the road.

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