Article: Car Seat Requirements
From state to state in the United States, car seat requirements and laws vary greatly. It’s a concern to many parents, and to many child safety experts, that these requirements fail to keep up with the recommendations of studies, safety experts, and pediatricians.
These groups recommend rear-facing car seats until age one and a weight of twenty pounds, forward-facing toddler seats until age four, and booster seats until age eight and a weight of eighty pounds.
Following is a list of states that require children to remain in car or booster seats until age 8:
Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. (Louisiana does not have an age requirement but does require children in boosters until they weigh 80 pounds.)
There is a major push to get the 8 years/80 pounds car seat requirements adopted across the nation, but many states are quite far behind. Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio still only require children to be restrained in car seats or boosters until age 4.
As for the rear-facing rule for children who have not both reached their first birthday and a weight of twenty pounds, only Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin have made it law.
(Idaho and New Mexico require that babies remain rear facing until their first birthday, with no weight requirements.) Pediatricians nationwide, however, advise these restrictions be taken into account by parents.
Regardless of what laws are in effect in your state, it is important to think about what is best for the safety of your child. No matter which car seat requirements you follow – the ones imposed by law, or the recommended ones from your pediatrician or child safety advocates – you must make sure to install your car seats properly, and use them effectively.
And, of course, be sure to follow the laws in your state, as they are changing quite often as the child safety advocates succeed in their efforts to make the laws more restrictive and protective. Your state’s website will always have up to date information.
Website collected information from english.nkradio.org