The parents living in or traveling to Virginia must know the Virginia car seat laws 2022 there to follow. Child safety, irrespective of the state, should not be compromised.
Newborn babies require the most conscious efforts regarding their car seat such as newborn car seat straps correct position, car seat weight chart, and does car seat go behind driver or passenger for newborns, etc.
We have discussed below Virginia car seat laws and the requirements for baby car seats, so keep reading.
Virginia Car Seat Laws 2022
Child car seat laws may seem to be difficult to be followed by the parents. However, they are made for the safety of your child on the road.
The child car seat accident statistics showed that more than 1 million kids have got serious injuries in car crashes while more than 650 have lost their lives.
So it is very important to address the problem i.e. car seat installation, a harness system, when to upgrade from infant car seat, etc.
Virginia State Car Seat Laws Requirements
Virginia car seat laws require the following:
- Children are to be restrained in car seats for at least 8 years.
- The car seats should be FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), and Department of Transportation Standards approved.
- It should be installed as directed by the car seat manufacturer.
- The parents will be charged $50 for violating the car seat installation and child harness laws and $500 for the second time.
Note: if your child cannot use the baby car seat restraint system, you must have to provide a valid medical certificate. In case of no valid medical certificate, $20 more will be added to the fine.
1. Virginia Rear Facing Car Seat Laws
For a rear-facing child, Virginia car seat laws state that:
The child will remain rear-facing in a car seat until they have outgrown the age, weight, and height, the limit for that car seat
From a safety point of view, children should travel rear-facing until they are 4+ years old. It is because rear facing vs forward facing statistics approved it safe.
Note: rear-facing baby is less likely (40%) to get serious injuries in car accidents as the solid back of the car seat confronts the maximum crash forces.
The rear-facing baby seats should be:
Installed on the backseat of the car (preferably in the middle of the back seat) and the harness straps should be at or just below baby’s shoulders
Note: if it is somehow not possible to install a car seat on the back seat, Virginia car seat laws allow you to install it on the front seat, but if and only if the airbag is disabled.
2. Virginia Forward Facing Car Seat Laws
For forward-facing kids, Virginia car seat laws state that:
When your child has outgrown the age, weight, and height limit for the rear-facing car seat is the right time to start riding forward-facing
According to the kid’s car seat weight chart: your baby is allowed to ride forward-facing when they have:
- Age limit: 3-4+ years
- Weight limit: 30+ lbs.
- Height limit: 49 inches
But in Virginia car seat laws:
Your child can only ride forward-facing when they are above 8 years of age
PS: buying convertible car seats is economical as you can use them for rear and forward facing.
3. Booster Seat Law Virginia
In Virginia car seat laws, a booster car seat should be used:
By the children of age 6+ years, for those under 8 years, should use car seat restraint system properly
Click here “What is the weight limit for a booster seat” to learn more about booster car seats.
Note: there is no weight and height limit for a Virginia booster seat. However, they are not allowed to travel in booster seas once they have surpassed the age limit for forward-facing car seats.
The children aged 8+ years should use shoulder and lap belts in booster seats. The lap and shoulder belt should be harnessed snugly.
4. Seatbelt Law in Virginia
Seat belt law in Virginia states that:
You are allowed to drive on the road only when the passenger on your car back seat (under 18) and on the front passenger seat is wearing the safety belts properly
Adult seat belts (with backless booster seats) are secured for children of age between 8 and 12 years, and those above 12 years old can use a vehicle seat belt (when it fits them properly).
Virginia Car Seat Rules
Besides the above-mentioned Virginia car seat laws, there are some car seat rules Virginia that are necessary to be known for the parents:
1. Virginia car seat laws for Taxis
Virginia car seat rules for Taxis are exempted from the restrain laws however the parents are obliged to use a baby car seat for their child in Taxis and other ordered vehicles.
PS: Taxis and other vehicles are equally susceptible to being in accidents as your own car would be.
Therefore, the parents are recommended to not take the risk on their child’s safety and install their car seat in Taxis properly to have a safe ride and peaceful mind.
2. In Virginia, when can a child face forward in a car seat?
According to the Virginia car seat laws:
“A child is ready to face forward in car seats when they have crossed the age limit for car seat i.e. at the age of 12 years”
Another signal to be ready for a forward-facing car seat is that if the vehicle seat belt fits your child snugly or not.
Related: Car seat ages and stages
3. Leaving a Child Unattended In Car Virginia Car Seat Laws
Car seat laws Virginia states that:
A person who is responsible for the child’s care (under 12) leave them in the car unattended will be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor
4. Smoking in a Car Seat with a Child in Virginia
According to Virginia car laws, when you have a minor in the car with you, you are not allowed to smoke. In case of violation, the guilty will be charged a $100 fine.
The reason behind inhibiting smoking is the health hazards that it causes children.
- Children (especially newborns and toddlers) are very sensitive to smoking which can cause respiratory problems in them
- Cigarette smoke contains hundreds of harmful chemicals, most of them are cancerous
- Excessive smoking causes the accumulation of carbon monoxide in the car (even if you rolled down the window) that is highly dangerous for children
5. Replacement of car seat after accident or expiration
According to Virginia car seat laws:
“You are obliged to replace the car seat after every accident and once the car seat has met its service life i.e. has expired”
After car accidents, damage to the car seat will occur (whether it is visible or not) ad it will not remain as safe as before.
Expired car seats mean that their material (of which they are made) is longer guaranteed to protect your child.
For most of the best car seat brands, for example, the car seat service life lies between 6 to10 years, after which you should not use it.
The topic of Interest: What to do with old car seats
6. Where to get your car seat checked in Virginia?
The Virginia Health Department facilitates the car seat holders for free checking throughout the state.
The department announces the date, time, and location for baby car seat’s free checking. You can check the update on their website and go to the address to get your baby’s car seat checked on a regular basis or after a car seat crash.
Virginia Car Seat Laws for Special Children
For special children, the Virginia car seat laws are not different. However, if your child needs some special care and equipment in their car seat, it can be installed with the permission of the child passenger safety department or NHTSA.
Child Car Seat Safety Videos for Virginia’s Parents
Coming to the end, we hope that you have learned about Virginia car seat laws according to your child’s age, weight, and height.
To keep your baby safe on every ride, we recommend buying a car seat for your child of the best car seat brands, installing it correctly, and changing it at the end of its service life.
Wish you a happy vacation!