Child Safety Seat Requirements
The Prince William County Police Department wishes to help parents and other caregivers clearly understand Virginia's child passenger safety laws so that they can safely and legally transport children.
The law mandates that:• Children up to their eighth birthday must be properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat. • Children ages eight (8) and older who no longer use a child safety seat MUST use a seatbelt while riding in a vehicle regardless of their seating position in the vehicle.*• When Virginia does mandate restraint use it requires the driver to secure both the child safety seat and the child properly.
*Since the National SAFE KIDS Campaign focuses on unintentional injury for children this Web site posting merely addresses restraint coverage through age 15. This statement does not take into account any provisions mandating coverage for individuals ages 16 and over.
• Driver fined maximum $50 for child restraint violation.
*This law contains a waiver provision. Generally this means that the penalty may or must be waived or reduced if the offender provides proof of purchase rental or acquisition of an approved child safety seat within a specified period of time or if the court determines that such a penalty would impose undue economic hardship to the offender.
So what does this mean in practical terms? The table below offers some guidelines.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia the child passenger safety laws look at age not weight. Children up to their eighth birthday must be properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat.
However it is generally safest to transport children under the age of one (1) (or weighing less than 20 pounds) in a rear-facing child safety seat. The law states that children in rear-facing devices must be in a vehicle's rear seat(s) if available. If the vehicle does not have rear seats the rear-facing device may be placed in the front only if the front passenger airbag is deactivated.
Most child-safety advocates recommend that children ages four (4) through eight (8) who weigh at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds and who are less than 57 inches tall should be in a forward facing child booster seat.
Children ages eight (8) and older who no longer use a child safety seat MUST use a seatbelt while riding in a vehicle regardless of their seating position in the vehicle.
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