child restraint

When Washington State upgraded its booster seat law in 2007 it was awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s top rating. This law is designed to keep toddlers and children safe in the event of a car accident by attempting to hold them in their seat. Without a booster seat, a child can be flung out of a vehicle and become seriously injured or killed.

History of Washington’s Child Restraint Law

In 2000, Washington became the first state in the nation with a booster seat law. On June 1, 2007, Washington’s revised Child Restraint Law went into effect. This law is one of the toughest child restraint laws in the country, requiring booster seats for older children. The act is called the Anton Skeen Act after four year old Anton Skeen who was killed in a rollover collision. The daughter of Walla Walla resident Autumn Alexander was using a shoulder belt in accordance to state law at the time but was thrown from the vehicle and crushed in the collision because her body was too small to gain the benefits of the seat belt. As the Booster Seat Coalition points out, adult seat belts are not meant to secure small children.

Age and Size Stipulations: Washington State Child Car Seat Laws

Washington State Child Car Seat Laws requires that children under the age of eight or below 4’9” in height must be secured in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions in a federally-approved child restraint device. Once the child reaches 4’9” tall or 8 years old (whichever comes first) they may move to a regular adult seat belt. When “practical to do so,” you must situate children under the age of 13 in the back seat of your vehicle.

Exceptions to the Washington State Child Restraint Law

  • A child under the age of 13 who weighs over 40 pounds may legally sit in the front seat of a vehicle if there is no back seat such as in a truck with one bench seating.
  • Vehicles with lap belts
  • For-Hire vehicles such as taxi cabs
  • Public transportation vehicles such as buses
  • Shuttles that transport passengers between airport terminals and parking lots, convention centers and hotels
  • Certain companies operating transportation for sixteen or fewer passengers

How is the Law Enforced?

The maximum fine for a first offense against Washington’s child restraint law is $124. The law states that the jurisdiction where you committed your offense can waive the fine if you provide proof that you acquired a child restraint device within seven days of the infraction. You cannot qualify for this treatment on a second offense.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!