California Car Seat Laws 2022: You Need to Know This!

According to the California State Transportation Agency, this state has the most extensive and complicated transportation system.

Therefore, it is beneficial to follow all the official regulations to increase safety on the road and potentially protect the passengers.

When it comes to the question of children's safety in vehicles, there are specific California car seat laws, precisely determining the type of car seats for children of different ages and weights.

In the following text, you can read our comprehensive and exceptionally concise overview of the California car seat laws, and learn how to restrain your little one properly!

California Car Seat Laws - The Basics

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According to California legislative information, all kids under the age of eight must be seated in the rear seat of a motor vehicle.

Furthermore, they are secured in the appropriate restraint systems for their age and weight that meets the federal standards.

Types of Child Passenger Restraint Systems

There are three main types of children safety restraint systems: rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster seats.

Different regulations are applied to each restraint system, especially when it comes to the maximum weight, height, and age of the child who has to use it.

However, when deciding which restraint system to use for your child, always refer to the regulations of weight and height first and consider your kid's age.

California Rear-facing Car Seat Law

In the state of California, children under the age of two must be seated in a rear-facing child restraint system until they weigh at least forty pounds and are forty inches tall.

The child needs to be secured in the way described by the manufacturer in the instructions.

If your kid is more than two years old, but still does not weigh forty pounds, you have to use the rear-facing restraint system still.

California Front-facing Car Seat Law

california car seat laws 2022

Once your kid exceeds the weight and height limitations of the rear-facing restraint system and has at least two years, you can switch to the front-facing car seat.

These car seats still need to be installed in accordance with the official manufacturer's instructions in the back seat of the vehicle. 

California Booster Seat Law

Your child is ready to upgrade from the front-facing car seat to the booster seat when they have exceeded the weight and height limitations of the front-facing car seats.

The usual regulations are around 65 pounds but refer to the official instructions of the manufacturer.

California Safety Belt Law

When your child turns eight or meets the height of 4'9," you no longer have to use the booster seat and restrain them with a safety seat belt.

California Car Seat Laws Exceptions

These laws do not apply to a driver if the legal guardian or parent is present in the car with a child as a passenger.

California Legal Fees For Car Seat Laws

california car seat law accident

The first offense of the California car seat laws is punishable by a fee of 100$, while the subsequent offenses are punishable by a fee of 250$.

Is It Allowed in California for Kids to Drive in the Front Seat?

All kids must drive in the back seat until they are eight years old, but even then it is highly advisable to secure your child in the back seat.

All children restraint systems need to be installed in the back seat since the airbag system in the front seat puts the child at high risk of an accident. 

Additional Information

All the other information on how to install a car seat properly and what type of child restraint system is the best for your kid, you can find here, on the official National Highway Traffic Safety Administration web page.

Final Thoughts

Those were the official California car seat laws for 2022. Read them thoroughly and make sure you keep your child safe at all occasions!

Also, don't forget to follow the updates in the official regulations for the state of California, as they may change.

Kathy Warner

Kathy is a busy mother of two and a CPS technician for more than eight years. Her mission is to awaken parents to the importance of child passenger safety and show them the right practice. You can read more about her here

1 thought on “California Car Seat Laws 2022: You Need to Know This!”

  1. I’m building a camper van and have a question about the requirements for car seat safety. Does it matter if the seats in a van are forward facing seats or can they be sideways?


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