According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading killer of children ages 1 through 13, and the best way to prevent child car accident deaths is to use an appropriate child seat or restraint. Along with national guidelines, Virginia car seat laws work to protect children, and it’s important you understand how the right seat and the right position can save your child’s life.
Virginia Car Seat Laws Save Lives
Though the quality of your child’s car seat matters, proper usage and position of the seat also contribute to the child’s safety. Throughout a child’s development, his safety-restraint needs will grow and change with him. At these different stages, Virginia law requirements address:
- Car seats. Until the child is at least two years old, Virginia requires that a car seat faces the rear of the vehicle. A forward-facing car seat may be used if the child weighs at least 20 pounds, reaches the maximum weight limit for rear-facing seats, or meets the height and weight requirements for forward-facing seats.
- Booster seats. After a child outgrows forward-facing car seats, she should use a booster seat until at least the age of eight—or until she reaches the height requirement for using a standard seat belt: 4’ 9”.
- Seat belts. In addition to meeting the height and age requirement, a child should also rest comfortably against the seat back, her knees should bend over the seat edge without slouching, and her feet should rest on the floor. Additionally, the seat belt should rest high over the lap and on the middle of the chest. Otherwise, the child will still require a booster seat.
When using car and booster seats, it’s important you loop seat belts through the proper slots, buckle the restraints in properly, and ensure the car or booster seat rests at the correct angle. Finally, make sure the car and booster seat straps lie correctly over the child’s body and engage with a click.
When You’re Injured in an Accident
If you or your children have been injured in a car accident, it’s crucial you get trustworthy legal help. At Tavss Fletcher, we can fight for you and your family after an accident so you can begin to heal and return to your usual routine. If you have questions, fill out the online contact form on our website today.