Any driver in Illinois who will have children in their vehicle needs to understand there are various laws in place regarding child car seats and seatbelts. Seatbelts and car seats are one of the main ways to keep drivers and passengers inside the vehicle safe if an accident occurs.
An unsecured child is much more likely to sustain severe injuries in an accident than a child who is properly secured in a car seat or an appropriate restraint. Here, we want to discuss what the Illinois law says about car seats and children wearing seatbelts. If you have been involved in an accident involving a child, speak to a Chicago car accident lawyer at Seidman, Margulis & Fairman, LLP today.
What Illinois Law Says About Children And Restraints In Vehicles
When we turn to the Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act, we can see that the state law says that children who are under the age of eight must be properly secured an appropriate child safety seat, to include the use of booster seats with appropriate lap and shoulder safety belts. There have been recent changes to the law regarding child passenger restraints.
- Newborn to 2 years. As of January 1, 2019, the Child Passenger Protection Act was amended to state that children under the age of two must be properly secured in a rear-facing child seat unless that child weighs more than 40 pounds or is over 40 inches tall. Children must remain in rear-facing seeds until they reach 2 years of age or the appropriate weight/height limits.
- Ages 2 to 4. Children should remain in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible, or until they reached the proper height and weight limits of the seat. When a child outgrows their rear-facing seat, they can transition to forward-facing car seats with a harness system.
- Aged 4 to 8. Children in this age group should be secured in a forward-facing car seat with an internal harness system until they reached the upper height and weight limit recommended by the car seat manufacturer. After a child outgrows a forward-facing car seat, they should transition to a belt-positioning booster seat.
Are Children Allowed In The Front Seat in Illinois?
Under Illinois law, children aged 8 to 12 must continue to ride in the back seat of the vehicle. In fact, it is recommended that children stay in a booster seat until they are tall enough to properly use the adult lap and safety belt system in the vehicle. This is important because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as the Centers for Disease Control all recommend that children under the age of 13 continue to ride in the back seats of the vehicle.
Doctors have made this recommendation because they claim that children under 12 years of age have not reached full bone development and face an increased risk of organ damage in the event a car accident occurs.
If there are no back seats in a vehicle, Illinois law allows a child to ride in a two-seater, but only if they are properly restrained according to the law and the front airbag is turned off.
A child restraint violation can result in a person incurring a fine of $75. A second offense of a child restraint violation will result in a $200 fine.