Car crashes are the main cause of death for children up to the age of 12 all across the country, and many of those deaths can be attributed to improper use (or no use) of restraint systems. Washington State is no different.

The best way to make sure your children are safe is to make sure that they have the right car seat and that it is installed and used in compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions. You should also keep your child in the safety seat or restraint system for as long as possible, until they are too tall or heavy for the system.

Summary of Washington’s child seat safety laws

The child seat safety laws in the state of Washington can be summarized as follows:

  • Children under the age of 13 must ride in the back seat whenever possible.

  • Children under 8 must use a child safety restraint unless they are at least 57 inches tall.

  • Child restraints must be used according to the instructions of both the seat’s manufacturer and the manufacturer of the motor vehicle.

  • Booster seats must be used for children 8 and under and weighing more than 40 pounds, unless the vehicle is equipped only with lap belts. Booster seats have to be used with both lap and shoulder belts.

  • You must ensure that children who are age 8 or older, or who are at least 57 inches tall, are using the seat belt system in the vehicle correctly. If they are not, you will have to make them continue to use child restraints.

Penalties

If a child is not properly restrained in a motor vehicle, the driver will be fined $124. If the passenger is 16 or older, then the passenger is fined.

Choose the type of child restraint that is best for your child, and always use it correctly. It could save your child’s life.

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


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