Child in a car seat

California Car Seat Laws – Protecting Our Children in the Event of an Accident

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Most adults know that they need to buckle up to be as safe as possible while driving on California roads, however, many people underestimate how important it is for children to be secured in proper safety seats. California even has the Occupant Protection Law that has been put into place to help protect children traveling as passengers in a vehicle.

If a child is injured in an accident and they were not properly secured, they can be gravely injured or potentially killed. Additionally, the chances of being able to recover damages can be drastically reduced even when working with a California personal injury attorney

What Does The Law Say About Car Seats?

California’s car seat law says that all children under the age of 2 must be in a rear-facing seat until they are 40 or more pounds, or 40 or more inches tall. Additionally, any child under 8 years old must be in a car seat or booster seat. Children 8 or older or who are at least 4’9” tall may use just a booster seat but still must use a seat belt. 

How to Choose the Right Car Seat for Your Child

The guidelines are to keep your child in rear-facing seats for as long as possible, then in front-facing seats for as long as possible after that. 

Rear-facing seats cradle small children much more effectively and limit forward movement in a crash. Forward-facing seats have a five-point harness that limits movement greatly. A booster seat is backless and only serves to raise the child into a position where the seat belt has a better fit.

The California Highway Patrol advises not to rush the graduation of a child from front-facing car seats to booster seats. In the interest of child safety, it is recommended to only graduate to a booster seat when it is required due to the size of the child. Each time graduation is made to the next type of seat, the child loses a degree of accident protection. 

Get Your Seat & Installation Checked

To be sure your seat is installed correctly and does not need any adjustments, the Highway Patrol offers child safety seat checks. For information on dates, locations, and details, contact your local branch of the Highway Patrol, or visit the CHP website for program updates.

Contact a Professional if Your Child is Injured

If you have been involved in a car accident in California and your child was injured, whether properly secured or not, you should reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney for a free consultation. There are so many variables involved in personal injury cases that the best chances for recovering compensation are often by trusting those who are most familiar with the personal injury claim system. It is important to do so quickly, since there may be time limits involved with your claim. Get in touch with our office today.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.