California Car Seat Laws & Requirements

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It is important to keep your children safe by following the car seating laws that the state of California has set for its citizens.

This will ensure that any damage in the event of a crash is minimized.

Car seat laws in California are pretty straightforward if you take the time to learn them.

These laws focus on how children, usually eight years and below, are required to be in a booster seat.

Depending on their age, the booster seat can be forward-facing or rear-facing.

If you do not know the laws that the state of California has set for car seats, then read this article, as I will go over all the rules the state has set for car seats and children.

California Car Seat Requirements By Ages

Learn the state of California car seat requirements

Generally, most car seat requirements are set for children eight and below, and you have different sets of rules as the ages change.

For your convenience, I will go over all of these rules here, along with the ages they correspond to.

1 Year Old

If your child is 1 year old, you will have to secure them in a rear facing car seat, which is the safest way to travel for children of this age.

This should comply with the height and weight limits that correspond with the car seat.

2 Year Old

If you have a 2-year-old, you should already be accustomed to the rules you have to follow as they are the same for 1 year old children as mentioned above.

At most, you will have to adjust the car seat based on the child’s growth along with their weight.

3 Year Old

Things start to change once your child reaches the age of three, as now you will have to use a booster seat which should be forward facing.

This seat should come with an internal harness. While many harness systems exist, you should go for a 5-point harness system as they are the safest.

4 Year Old

You will have to use a forward facing booster seat and ensure that the child is perfectly comfortable.

You will also have to adjust the seat and the harness according to weight and height. The same rules apply to 4-year-olds as they do to 3-year-olds.

5 Year Old

Unless your child is 5 feet tall or older, you must use a child passenger restraint system or a regular booster seat.

A proper seat should be used so the child can easily fit into the booster seat.

6 Year Old

Regardless of whether or not your child is one year older, he/she will have to follow the rules set for children that are 5 years old.

This means they will have to continue with a booster seat. You must keep them perfectly comfortable and secure in the seat.

7 – 9 Year Old

For 7 year olds, the parents must ensure that the child still uses a booster seat until or unless they are above 4 feet and 9 inches in height.

This restriction is removed for ages 8 and up, and you can stop using a booster seat. Then the only rule you have to enforce is ensuring your child wears a seat belt.

10 Year Old

As established above, once your child hits the age of 8 or reaches a particular height, they are no longer required to use booster seats.

Instead, they must wear a proper seat belt and preferably ride in the back seat of the vehicle.

Car Seat Weight And Height Requirements In California

The height requirements for California are 4’9″ for children if they need to be in a booster seat.

If your child is less than 40 pounds, they have to sit in a rear facing seat unless they are 40 pounds or are at least 40 inches.

Type Of Car Seat Laws In California

Various laws affect certain car seats that have been set by the state of California and are rules which you have to follow, and these will change based on the type of booster seat you are using.

1. Rear Facing Car Seat

This seat is best suited for children below two years or below 40 pounds. It is undoubtedly one of the safest ways for small children to travel in a vehicle.

It is recommended that you always keep this booster seat in the back of the car and ensure it is properly connected and in place.

2. Forward Facing Car Seat

This type of car booster seat exists for children 2 years and above, up to 4 years.

It should come with a built-in harness system and be in tandem with the height and weight of the child and should be adjusted as the years go on and the child grows.

3. Booster Seat

These are simple height boosts for children who can now stay upright and do not need extra protection. If your child is between 4 and 8 and below 5 feet, you will be required to use this.

When Is The Time For My Child To Sit In The Front Seat In California?

Once your child reaches the age of 8 or if he/she get to the height of 4 foot 9 inches, they no longer have to use a booster seat and can simply use the normal car seat along with the seat belt.

While it is recommended you keep them in the back seat, they can still sit in the car’s front seat.

What Happens If You Leave Your Child In A Car In California?

There are various rules you must follow if you have a child in your car, and while booster seats are important while driving, you should also not leave your child unattended in a vehicle for long.

You cannot leave a child 6 years old or younger in a car unless they are being observed by a person 12 years and up.

This is especially true when there are known conditions that can risk the child’s health and if the engine is still running.

While you will not be facing any prosecutions when caught for doing so, you will be liable to pay a fine that may extend up to $100, which should be less of an incentive to not leave your child unattended.

The greater incentive should always be the child’s health, which you have to prioritize over everything else.

Taxi Car Seat Laws In California

You are required by state law to use a car seat when traveling in a taxi car.

Child safety is no joke, and you should have a portable booster seat ready if your car is unavailable and you need a taxi.

A taxi driver is not responsible for providing you with a booster seat; hence, you must bring one yourself.

California Law Regarding Car Seats In Accidents

The state of California has made it mandatory for insurance companies to replace the car booster after the event of a crash.

It is always a good idea to replace your child’s booster seat as most booster seats are built to last only one crash, and while you should try your best to avoid crashing, if another should ever occur, the booster seat should have its integrity.

Uber Car Seat Laws In California

The state of California has made it a legal requirement that car seats are also required in Uber.

It may not be the job of the Uber driver to provide you with a car seat, but if you have a child, you must use a car seat.


Now that you have finished reading this article, you should have a firm understanding of how California car seat laws work and, while very strict in their requirements, offer the safest and most protective environment for your child depending on their age and height weight.

Children are very fragile, and you should adopt these rules to ensure your child is as safe as possible.

These rules also extend to taxis and Uber, which is why it is in the best interest of all parents to follow the car seat laws set by the state of California unless you want to get in trouble with law enforcement.