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Child Seat Safety Laws in California

Child Seat Safety Laws in California

California, like other states, has specific laws in place regarding the way that children are restrained in motor vehicles. For that matter, everyone in California is expected to buckle up – it’s just common sense. Children, of course, can’t be expected to exercise common sense, so the responsibility falls to the adult motorist to ensure that the child is properly restrained. These laws are in place for your child’s protection, so obey them.

Summary of child seat safety laws in California

The child seat safety laws in California can be summarized as follows:

  • Children must be secured using either a seat belt or a federally-approved restraint system for child passengers, depending on the age, and height of the child.

  • Children under the age of eight must be secured in an approved restraint system, not a seat belt.

  • Children under the age of eight may ride in the front seat only if there is no rear seat at all, if the rear seats face to the rear or the sides, or if there is no way to properly install a child restraint system in the rear seat.

  • Children under the age of eight may also ride in the front seat if the rear seats are already occupied by children seven years or younger.

  • Children under the age of eight may also ride in the front seat if there are medical reasons that would make it problematic for them to ride in the back seat.

  • No child may ride in the front seat of a vehicle if they are in a rear-facing car seat, under a year old, or weigh less than 20 pounds.

  • Children 8 years or older, and at least 57 inches tall may use an adult safety belt.


If you violate the child seat safety laws in California, you could be fined $100. Don’t risk it, or the safety of your young passengers. Obey the California child seat safety laws.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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