Reminder: WA State’s New Car Seat Law Goes into Effect January 1, 2020
On April 19, 2019, Gov. Jay Inslee signed updated car-seat and booster seat laws for Washington State to better protect children in car accidents. We are issuing a reminder that the updated law goes into effect on January 1, 2020.
The American Academy of Pediatrics updated their recommendations for car and booster seat usage in March of 2011 and then published these updated recommendations in August, 2018. The law in Washington State will catch up to the recommendations this coming year.
Washington State’s new car seat law goes into effect January 1, 2020
The revised law affects four categories:
- Until 2 years of age, children must be strapped into a properly harnessed rear-facing car seat. The recommendation is for children to remain rear-facing for as long as possible, until they have outgrown the height and/or weight limits of the seat.
- Between the ages of 2 and 4 (once they have outgrown the rear-facing seat), children should use a forward-facing car seat with an age-appropriate child harness and remain in that seat for as long as possible, until they have outgrown the height and/or weight limits of the seat.
- Children over the age of 4 but who are shorter than 4’9” and who have outgrown their forward-facing car seat must use a booster seat. Notes: high-back booster seats are appropriate until the shoulder belt fits comfortably across the child’s shoulder and chest. Most children will need a booster seat until they are 10-12 years old, though they will likely have moved to a backless booster seat long before.
- Once children are over 4’9” in height, they must wear a shoulder belt appropriately. Children under the age of 13 must ride in the back seat unless there is no back seat or any other seat available.
Drivers can be issued a ticket by a law enforcement officer if a passenger in their vehicle who is under the age of 16 is not using the appropriate car seat, booster seat or seat belt for their age, height and weight.
How car seat and booster seat laws affect child safety
Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children and yet, so many of these deaths could have been prevented with proper car seat or booster seat usage. According to child passenger safety data from CDC.gov:
- In the U.S. in 2017 alone, 675 children 12 years of age and younger died and almost 116,000 were injured as passengers in motor vehicle crashes.
- Of the children who died in these crashes (where restraint use was known), 35 percent were not using child restraints or seat belts.
Parents can find information on car seats and booster seats along with a directory of free seat checks in Washington state at www.boosterseat.org.
Seek the help of a car accident lawyer
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident because of the negligence of another, 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 larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the competent 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.