California Law – Child Safety Seats


Area of Law: 

Rob Bohn –

If you’re travelling less than a mile, it can be tempting not to properly fasten a child seat, since you’ll be to your destination so soon.  Unfortunately, such choices result in thousands of children being either severely hurt or killed each year because safety seats have been inadequately installed—or worse, not used at all.

The rule is simple, parents: Always be sure to properly fasten in your child. If you’re afraid that you may be improperly fastening the belt or don’t know if your child is secure, you can always contact a local California Highway Patrol Area Office for a lesson. You can also locate a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration child car seat inspection station to have a professional install a car seat for you.

Parents need to be aware of these laws for child safety seats in California:

-          Until a child is 8 years old, they must be secured in a car seat/booster seat in the back seat of the vehicle. Do not put a child, even with a safety seat, in the front seat of a vehicle.

-          If your child is under 8 years old, but is 4’ 9”, they may be secured in the back seat with only a seat belt.

-          Any child that does not need to be in a safety as described by the previous parameters still must be properly secured with a safety belt or child passenger restraint.

-          California does have a mandatory seat belt law for any passengers who are 16 years of age and over.

Being a personal injury lawyer, I’ve been around a number of claims involving child safety seats. Here are a couple of safety tips to ensure maximum child seat safety:

-          Buy a new child safety (as needed) every 5 years. New government laws and company innovations will offer the best chance to have the safest child safety seat available.

-          Always read user reviews before you buy!

-          Always read the instructions! Don’t “eyeball it” or assume you know how to install the seat.

-          If something is unclear with the product or instructions, contact the manufacturer.

-          Always double-check the fastened child seat.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are seeking to hold another party—particularly the seat manufacturer—liable for injuries to your child, the opposing lawyers may argue that all damages were caused because of an improperly secured car seat.  If you took shortcuts or failed to follow the installation instructions, this could severely damage the case.  So, always properly secure your child’s car seat.

My California law firm offers free consultations to any client. We operate on a contingency fee basis. We  and are able to service the residents throughout California and all Bay Area communities, including San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Campbell, Los Gatos, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Oakland.