California Changes Vehicle Child-Safety-Seat Law

New California legislation imposes additional child-safety-seat requirements for children under two years old.

For a number of years, California law has required that children under eight years old—except those who weigh more than 40 pounds or are 57 inches or taller—be secured in child safety seats while traveling in a vehicle. Safety seats have to meet federal safety standards and generally must be located in the back seat of the car.

Legislation that becomes effective January 1, 2017 keeps the old law—which applies to kids under eight years old—intact and adds new requirements for children under two years old.

The New Law

The new law will require children who are under two year old to be restrained in rear-facing child safety seats while riding in a vehicle. The rear-facing requirement, however, doesn’t apply to children under two who are also at least 40 pounds or 40 inches tall. (Cal. Veh. Code § § 27360, 27363.)

Penalties for Violations

For a first child-safety-seat violation, there’s a fine of up to $100. A second violation carries a maximum fine of $250. The court can order any violator to complete a community education program that covers installation and use of child safety seats. (Cal. Veh. Code § 27360.6.)