Pennsylvania has been transforming its laws for the safety of children. Governor Tom Wolf’s Legislation in 2016 mandated rear-facing car seats for kids under 2. Pennsylvania car seat laws categorize child safety passenger laws according to age and weight.
Under 2 years of age, a child must be secured in a rear seat until their height and weight exceeds the requirements indicated by the car seat manufacturer. Children under 4 years old must be fastened with a child safety seat. Kids 4 to 8 years must use booster seats, and children 8 and older must use seat belts.
Per the new law of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), children who are under 8, less than 80 pounds, or less than 57 inches tall must be placed in a booster or car seat.
Children between 8 and 13 years of age are required to ride in the back seat of the car and fastened with a seat belt across the chest, shoulders, and upper thighs. These standards are approved by the US Department of Transportation.
Annual Car Accident Statistics: A Shocking Revelation
As stated, the Pennsylvania car seat laws 2022 state that children must be properly restrained according to the child’s weight, age, and height, until they are 8 years old or weigh 65 lbs. Vehicle seat belts can be used for children who are under 16.
These Pennsylvania laws are changing to prevent needless injuries and death among children. Following are some motor vehicle accident statistics from recent years that may surprise you:
- 38% of children died in accidents when they were not fastened with seat belts
- The average age of children who died while riding in SUVs, pickups, and other cars was 2.
- The number of children 14 or under who died due to traffic accidents was 1093.
- 83% of children in Pennsylvania did not sustain any injuries while using seat belts. These statistics show how seat belt use can decrease deaths.
The Importance of PA Child Car Seat Laws
The law for child seats strictly pertains to the use and misuse of child restraint systems. Installing car seat restraint systems are legally required for all children traveling in motor vehicles.
The law specifically outlines certain requirements for these systems. In part, child seat laws outline how long a child must be seated in a proper restraint system while a vehicle is in operation. This law is established to keep children safe throughout the entire duration of a car ride.
Many children face the threat of serious injury or even death without these requirements in place. Fortunately, the law seeks to hold all adults and guardians accountable for their children’s safety.
Unfortunately, certain gaps in the law allow drivers to operate a vehicle without adequately protecting passengers under the age of 18. Drivers with passengers under the age of 18 are not necessarily required to use special restraint systems in certain cases.
Nonetheless, protecting children riding in vehicles is very important. Drivers with child passengers should always be proactive about safety to reduce the possibility of injury in an accident.
An In-Depth Analysis Of PA, NY, And NJ Child Seat Laws
|No.||Pennsylvania||New York||New Jersey|
|1||Children between 8 and 13 years must be controlled in the back seats until the safety seat belt system is used||Children 8 to 16 years must always wear a seat belt, whether they sit in front or back seats||Child passenger restraint systems must be used by kids under 8 years and under 80 lbs|
|2||Children between 4 to 8 years must sit in a booster seat||4 to 8 years old and over 40 lbs must use the booster seats||Booster seats are a must for children who are less than 80 lbs|
|3||Children under 4 years must be fastened with a child passenger-controlled system||Kids under 4 years old and under 40 lbs must ensure to make use of a child restraint system.||Children under 4 years must be using either a rear-seat or rear forward-facing child passenger restraint system.|
|4||Children less than 2 years must be made to sit in a rear-facing child seat used for their protection||Kids under 2 years must ensure their safety by using effective protection measures||Children under 2 years must make use of the child passenger restraint system|
|5||Any violation of these laws will be considered an offense||Violating these laws will be regarded as a strict offense||If the above-mentioned laws are violated, there will be strict action against the negligent party|
Booster Seat Law And Safety Tips
A booster seat is a seat with no harness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that 46% of car and booster seats (20% of booster seats and 59% of car seats), if misused, are less protective.
You must use a car seat or a belt-positioning booster seat every time you take your child in a car. The seat must be placed in the back seat of the vehicle. Following are more tips for effective booster seat usage.
- Place the vehicle seat and booster seat in the lap position where the child’s hips can rest and the shoulder belt is tied across the clavicle bone.
- Ensure that the booster and seat belts fit properly and that the child is fastened comfortably.
- Both the lap and shoulder belts are mandatory to prevent injury.
- Remember to not put the shoulder belt behind the back of the child or under the child’s arm.
- Make it a point to never leave your children alone in the vehicle.
You can use the safety belt first test to ensure whether your child is applicable for the adult seat or not. The test can be done when the child has reached 4 feet and 9 inches of height.
Child Car Seat Guidelines
Some important recommendations for child car seat height and weight guidelines include, but are not limited to the following:
- Infants should be placed in a rear-facing car seat with a harness until they either reach the age of two or a weight of 35 pounds.
- Toddlers should be placed in a rear-facing car seat for maximum safety. Most children do not reach a weight of 35 pounds until they are between the ages of three and four.
- School-aged children should use a booster seat until they are tall enough for a standard seat belt to properly fit.
- Older children who are large enough to use a standard seat belt should always sit in the back seat of the vehicle until they reach the age of 13.
Although PA car seat laws are necessary for the safety of children, these laws only cover the bare minimum of safety precautions.
It is still possible for a child to get seriously injured in an accident while following all seat laws, so parents and guardians must take additional steps to ensure the safety of the children in their care.
To fully ensure the safety of children in an operating vehicle, parents and guardians should go above and beyond what the laws require.
Penalties For Violating Car Seat Laws In Pennsylvania
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released guidelines that help parents and guardians improve the safety of their children on the road. These guidelines can help close many gaps in relatively lax car seat laws and ensure the safety of children in vehicles.
In any event, drivers may be fined for not properly following child safeguards and restraints. It is important that all parents, guardians, drivers, and passengers follow these laws to avoid fines and court fees, and, more importantly, to keep their children safe.
PA car seat law violation may lead to a fine of $125 per child. For example, if you have three children that are unsecured, you would be charged $375.
According to Pennsylvania’s Child Passenger Protection Acts (Act 53, 1983 / Act 22, 1993 / Act 229, 2002 / Act 81, 2011 / Act 43, 2016), violators will have to pay a fine of $75.00 and additional costs of the court decision on an annual basis, $45 surcharge, $10.00 administrative costs, and $10.00 for EMS fund.
Pennsylvania Seat Belt Laws Ensure Your Safety
To abide by Pennsylvania seat belt laws, passengers and drivers who are 18 years or older must ensure they wear a seat belt while driving or while seated in the front passenger seat.
Drivers in Pennsylvania should be aware of the specific laws, rules, and regulations that pertain to road safety. By staying aware of these laws, drivers can avoid costly tickets and, more importantly, stay safe on the road. There are a number of seat belt laws that pertain to everyday driving.
Primary and secondary enforcement laws dictate the actions that a police officer may take when a driver or passenger fails to wear proper restraint devices while operating a vehicle. Seat belt laws also outline special considerations related to the safety of children.
These, however, are very general guidelines and are not meant to provide legal advice in your specific situation. If you have been involved in an accident and would like an expert opinion, talk to a Philadelphia car accident lawyer at The Law Offices of Samuel Fishman right now.