When you secure your child in a properly installed child seat, you reduce his or her chances of being injured in a motor vehicle accident by 69%, and of being killed by 71%. It just makes sense to obey the law when it comes to using a child safety seat.

Summary of Virginia’s child seat safety laws

In Virginia, the child seat safety laws can be summarized as follows:

  • Any child under the age of eight must ride in a child safety seat in any vehicle made after January of 1968.

  • Rear-facing car seats must always be in the back seat of the vehicle. If there is no back seat, then the car seat can be placed in the front provided that the air bag is deactivated.

  • Children who have medical conditions that would make restraint unreasonable do not have to be restrained provided that the driver of the vehicle has a written statement, signed by a doctor, stating the reason why the child cannot be confined.

  • Children from birth to one year must ride facing the rear.

  • Children from one to seven can ride in forward-facing seats.

  • You may not hold your child on your lap.

  • Children are not permitted to ride in the cargo area of vans, station wagons or hatchbacks, and hatchbacks must be closed when children are in the back seat.

  • Children under 16 are not permitted to ride in a pickup truck’s bed, even if it is covered with a camper shell.

Penalties

If you violate the child seat safety laws in Virginia, you can be subject to a $50 fine.

Virginia’s child seat safety laws are there for your child’s protection, so make sure that you understand and obey them.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Child Seat Safety Laws in Virginia and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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