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Road Safety

What are the Car Seat laws in Washington State?

Ladenburg Law   /   August 12, 2019

Car Seat Laws in Washintgton State

It’s a good idea to review the current car seat and booster seat laws for Washington State. These laws are in place for good reason – car crashes are a top cause of death in children. Additionally, there are steps you can take to make car safety an even bigger priority.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death in children.

The leading cause of death in children ages 1-13 is car crashes. Consider these sobering statistics:

  • In 2017, 37% of kids killed in crashes were unrestrained.
  • As many as 59% of car seats are installed incorrectly.
  • Unrestrained drivers in crashes usually have children that are unrestrained. (Needs work.)
  • Most accidents occur close to home – when it might be most tempting to relax on safety measures.

Read Traffic Safety Facts for more details on these statistics.

Current car seat and booster seat laws for Washington State.

Here are the current car seat and booster seat laws for Washington State (RCW 46.61.687):

  • All Children under 8 must be restrained in a child restraint system (either a car seat or booster seat).
  • Children under 8 but taller than 4’9″ may use your car’s seatbelt system.
  • Unless it’s impractical, children under 13 should ride in the back seat.
  • Install car and booster seats following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Besides these laws, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends the following:

  • Choose a car seat or booster seat that fits your child’s height and weight.
  • Always put infants under 1 in a rear-facing car seat.
  • Children under 2 are always safest in rear-facing car seats.
  • Register your car seats and booster seats to receive any safety or recall notices.

Here’s something else to consider: parents are responsible for seatbelting kids under 16. But if your children are 16 or older, they are responsible for themselves. This means your 17 year old passenger could receive a citation for not wearing a seatbelt!

Car seat resources for Washington State parents.

There are resources available to help Washington State parents follow car seat laws.

If you or your child is the victim of a car accident, call the Ladenburg Law Injury Attorneys at 253-272-5226. We can provide you with a consultation at no cost or obligation.

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