What Are the Connecticut Car Seat Laws in 2020? All You Need to Know

Are you aware that Connecticut has recently updated its child car seat laws? The new law's requirements took effect on October 1st, 2017, making their laws stricter.

Connecticut is the eight state to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations on optimal child seat safety. As a parent, you should know Connecticut car seat laws and educate yourself on the changes.

Never let yourself be caught off guard when it comes to car seat regulations. By keeping updates, you reduce the risks of injuries, penalties, or accidents in transportation while traveling with children.

Car Seat Laws in Connecticut

connecticut child car seat laws

All children weighing less than 60 pounds and are under the age of 8 must be provided with a proper child restraint system. This includes car seats or booster seats when they are passengers in a transporting motor vehicle.

If a person violets this law by not providing the child with a recommended restraint system, a penalty for this is $199 fine.

An exception to this section is children who have a disability that forestalls them from wearing a seatbelt. In this case, they are allowed to ride without restraint only if accompanied by a written doctor's statement stating the details of the condition to this exemption.

Rear-faced Seat Law in Connecticut

The Connecticut law states that infants that are two and under are placed in the front-facing car seat accompanied by a 5-point harness restraint. Once the child reaches 30 pounds, they can move to the next type of car seat recommended.

Understandably, your child can stay riding in a rear-faced seat as long the car seat manufacturer recommends it.

Following, you should always check the car seat's criteria for weight and height recommendations to keep your baby safe at all times on the open road.

Forward-facing Car Seats in Connecticut

Until the child turns four and reaches over 30 pounds, a forward-faced seat with a five-point harness system is obligatory. If your child is slightly smaller for his/her age, you can continue using the rear-face car seat as long as it follows the car seat manufacturer's recommendations.

Besides, by following the child's age and weight, you can securely determine which type of car seat will work the best.

Booster Seat

Following the Connecticut law, all children ages five to eight weighing up to 60 pounds need to use a booster with a proper restraint system.

A booster seat can either be:

1) A full-back seat which protects the child's head, neck, and spine. It can be used regardless if you have or don't have a proper headrest in your vehicle.

2) A backless-booster seat should only be used if you have a proper headrest. As the name alludes, suggests, the design does not have adequate support for the neck, head, and spine.

Tips for Using a Booster Seat

If you reach the stadium of using a booster seat in Connecticut, you should keep these tips in mind. 

Firstly, make sure you are using a lap and shoulder belt combined. Never use the lap belt as an only restraint system for booster seats. Next, make sure the belt fits comfortably over the child's chest area, never the neck

Lastly, make sure that the lap belt goes across the thigh area and never the abdomen. Booster seats can be a little tricky, but they are necessary for following Connecticut law regulations.

When is the Right Time for Front Seat Rides in Connecticut?

The law in Connecticut declares that children ages eight and up who weigh over 60 pounds, can use car seat belts and be front-seat passengers.

However, make sure that the seat belt fits comfortably, and it is securely installed. 

Leaving the Child Unattended in the Car

connecticut car seat requirements

It is illegal to leave a child unattended in the car in the state of Connecticut, even if the vehicle is not in function at that moment. 

Connecticut police officers are cautious about classifying the arrest as a felony or a misdemeanor arrest. Any person who leaves an under 16-year old child unattended in a motor vehicle will face a felony arrest in Connecticut. The law is evident here.

No matter if you go the car for two minutes or if the child is in a proper restraint system, it is frowned upon to leave a minor unsupervised.

Is Smoking Illegal With Children in the Car?

As for now, it is not forbidden to smoke in a vehicle with child passengers. However, Connecticut is working on making smoking illegal in cars with children.

A study conducted in 2012 by UC Berkeley researchers, concluded that the level of smoke exposure to a child riding in vehicles with smokers is higher in concentration, then the ones measured in restaurants or bars. 

Even though the Connecticut law does not object to smoking yet, the Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy have many concerns regarding smoking in cars with children present.

Are Car Seat Laws Mandatory for Taxis?

Car seats for children are not mandatory when you are taking a taxi. However, it is advised that you bring one with you and keep your child safe throughout the ride in a motor vehicle.

Is Car Seat Replacement Following an Accident Necessary?

Connecticut law does not state the regulations when it comes to damaged car seat replacement. It is only logical to check the car seat after a collision and replace it with a proper model, suitable for your child's weight and age.

After a major car crash, check the car seat for damage. Even if there is not a scratch on it, we advise you to replace it with a secure model and refer to the manufacturer's manual for further instructions.

Where Can You Get Car Seat Help in Connecticut?

Here is a helpful list of several places to get car seat help in Connecticut:

Hamden Police Department Child Seat Installation
L+M Hospital Car seat checks
Glastonbury Car Seat Safety
AAA Car Seat installation serves the area of Connecticut
Child Safety Seat Inspections

Final Words

After covering all the essential sections of Connecticut car seat laws, we wish you a safe trip to this US state. 

With this 2020 guide on Connecticut laws about car seat safety, you will be prepared for your road trip adventures in no time while keeping the youngest ones safe and buckled up

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