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Illinois Car Seat Laws – All You Need to Know

Posted on November 14, 2022

Children must be safely secured inside of a moving vehicle. Parents and guardians must ensure that their children are properly secured with a seat belt or booster seat. Failing to do this could result in a traffic violation and fines. Additionally, failure to properly secure a child could result in significant injuries in a car accident.

Why Car Seats Matter

According to information available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we can see that approximately 600 children aged 12 and younger lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents across the US during the latest reporting year. Additionally, more than 63,000 children in that age range sustained injuries. Of the children who lost their lives in an accident that year, the CDC says that 38% were not restrained. Car seat usage does save lives, which is why laws have been passed in every state regarding these safety devices.

What Illinois Says About Car Seat Safety

The Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act says that any child under the age of eight should be properly secured in a child safety restraint system. This can include traditional car seats as well as booster seats. In the event the back of a vehicle does not have a lap/shoulder type of safety belt, children weighing more than 40 pounds can be transported in the back seat with no booster seat and secured only with the lap belt.

Newborn to 2 years old

Illinois law requires every child under the age of two to be secured in a rear-facing child restraint system unless they weigh more than 40 pounds or are at least 40 inches tall. Children should remain in a rear-facing child seat until they reach two years of age.

Children ages 2 to 4 years old

Children ages 2 to 4 should remain in the rear-facing child seat as long as possible, or at least until they reach 40 pounds or at least 40 inches in height. When the child outgrows their rear-facing child safety seat, they can transition to forward-facing car seats that have a harness system.

Children ages 4 to 8 years old

Children ages 4 to 8 must be secured in a forward-facing safety seat until they reach the upper weight and height limits allowed by the car seat manufacturer. When the child outgrows the forward-facing car seat, they can transition to a booster seat that uses the lap/shoulder belt.

Children ages 8 to 12 years old

Children should remain in their booster seats until they are tall enough to fit properly in the adult lap/shoulder belt system.

Child Seat Safety Tips for Parents

The state of Illinois provides this wonderful guideline that can help provide a reminder for parents about the type of seat their child should be in when they are in the vehicle. Illinois does provide a Keep Me In a Safe Seat Program where parents can go to facilities throughout the state for inspections by certified car safety seat technicians. To schedule a safety seat inspection, you can fill out a Request a Child Safety Seat Inspection form.