Do you live or plan a trip to Arizona? If you are traveling with children, it's time to know the state's car seat laws and protect your youngest one. Since 2012, the Arizona car seat laws have changed, it is essential to keep an update.
Looking back at 2018, over 3000 minors (mostly under the age of 14) have suffered from severe collision injuries in motor vehicles. Compared to the previous year, a 1% increase in fatal injuries was observed in Arizona. Even though states vary in law sections, there is one thing for sure.
All of them have mandatory car safety policies that require children to be in safety restraint devices during car rides. Here are the 2021 laws of car seat safety in the state of Arizona.
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Arizona Car Seat Law
According to section 28-907, the Arizona child restraint system states that under eight-year-olds who are 4'9' tall or less, are obliged to use a child restraint system. Children between the ages of eight and seventeen must use a shoulder and lap belt in motor vehicle transportation.
A child restraint system can be either an add-on, built-in, front-facing system, or a booster seat meets all the federal standards.
If your budget limits you from getting a child restraint system by any chance, you can rent a free one from an eligible agency. A reliable agency in the question is a public or an agency providing shelter to domestic violence victims/homeless families, licensed hospitals, or a health clinic.
Infant Car Seat Law
As stated in the previous law section, all children under the age of 5 must be secured in a child restraint system. The Arizona law does not explicitly mention particular car seat laws for infants, but it states that children must be adequately secured.
In addition to that, it is recommended that infants ride in a rear-facing car seat.
Rear-Facing Seat Laws
The Arizona law does not list the specific requirements for rear-facing car seats. However, rear-faced seats are recommended child restraint systems for children up to two years old.
These car seats are designed to fit newborns up to 30 pounds, and more and most of them have a base that stays in the vehicle for convenience. The current recommendations from the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) advise infants to ride in a rear-faced secure system until they are at least two years of age or until they reach the weight limit for the seat manufacturer's specifications.
Up to now, 1/3 of states in the US have updated their child passenger safety laws that have mandatory rear-facing seats until the age of two.
Forward-Facing Car Seat Law
Following rear-faced criteria, Arizona Law does not list specific requirements for forward-facing car seat law. Undeniably, the safety restraint system must be installed correctly according to the manufacturer's specifications.
Once the child exceeds the standards for rear-faced seats, you can place them in a forward-facing car seat. Always keep in mind that this has to be a car seat that is used correctly for their age and weight group that buckles them safely.
Booster Seat Laws
Up until August 2, 2012, Arizona Law covered only children of 5 and under to be seated in a child restraining system. However, the law expanded. All children ages five to eight years old who are shorter than 4'9' must be sitting in a legally recognized restraint system. This age group must be in a booster seat, including a high-back or a belt-positioning booster seat.
What if your child doesn't meet the criteria for booster seats?
Many parents are baffled with the criteria that are mentioned for booster seats. If let's say, your child is five years old, but it is above the height requirements, do you need to provide a booster seat? The answer is NO.
The same goes for eight-year old's who are slightly shorter than the recommended size. That being said, it is crucial to follow the age limit when it comes to booster seats.
When Can Your Child Sit In The Front Seat?
Arizona State Law does not specify the exact age when a child is allowed to sit in the front seat. However, if you look at the vehicle manufacturers' place warnings, they state that in their vehicles, thirteen-year-olds or younger should not sit in the front seat.
With exceptions to this exclusion, rear-faced seats can never be installed in front of an active airbag. If the situation occurs when you must place a child in the front seat ( riding in a two-seat vehicle), then you should always disable the airbag beforehand.
A study conveyed by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis shows a front seated child with an airbag and seat belt is 31% more likely to be killed in a collision than those who are restrained but with a disabled airbag.
Most safety organizations advocate for all children under the ages of 12 to be restrained in a back with proper safety restraining systems.
Can You Leave A Child Alone In A Car Seat In Arizona?
Even though there is no specific law about leaving your child alone in the car in Arizona, you can still get criminally charged for doing so.
This is a case by case situation. Since the climate in Arizona is arid to semi-arid, you could get charged with a class 6 felony for reckless behavior. The officer in charge can take a look at the temperature, where the child is placed and if he/she is in a proper restraint system or if there is any air conditioning, and for how long the parent was absent, leaving their child unattended.
It's better not to roll the dice with this kind of scenario and never leave your children unattended, even for a quick run at the store.
Replacing The Car Seat After Accident
Considering there is no law about replacing damaged car seats in Arizona, we strongly advise you to do so. Car seats usually have a lifespan of 6 years; after expiration, you should consider getting a replacement.
You can never be 'too sure' when it comes to car seats when even minor damages can result in inadequate protection.
Where Can You Get Car Seat Help In Arizona?
Considering numerous places where you can get car seat help in Arizona, we selected a few:
As a law-abiding citizen myself, it is always in my interest to keep my family safe and sound. As a parent and a guardian, you should be aware of these Arizona car seat laws so your youngest one can be protected.
With the little practice, you can learn how to properly install a car seat that meets all the state and national standards.
Enjoy your stay in Arizona, and remember to follow the rules of car seat safety!