Pennsylvania Child Car Seat Laws

Philadelphia Law Firm

Every state has a child car seat law. But Pennsylvania’s law differs from many other states’ laws in its specific requirements based on the child’s age, height, and weight.

These requirements might seem excessive. And you could spend a lot of money buying different seats or a convertible seat to comply with the law. But the law codifies many of the recommendations from pediatricians and car safety experts.

Continue reading to learn more about Pennsylvania child car seat laws. If you have questions or need assistance after a car accident in Philadelphia, PA, contact Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation at (215) 875-7030.

How Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Car Accident in Philadelphia

Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers opened its doors in Philadelphia 30 years ago. Our firm is family owned and run by locals who understand the needs of their clients and community.

Experience counts when you need compensation to pay your medical bills and make ends meet after an accident. 

The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers:

  • Have over 80 years of combined experience
  • Have recovered over $50 million in compensation for accident victims
  • Stand up to the biggest and best-funded insurers to get fair compensation 

To discuss your child’s car accident injuries, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll investigate your accident, determine all avenues for compensation, and ensure that we maximize the amount you’re entitled to recover. Call us today to get started.  

How Common Are Car Accidents Involving Children?

Unfortunately, car accidents frequently injure or kill children. The CDC reported that car accidents killed over 600 children and injured nearly 91,000 in 2019.

Motor vehicle accidents fall in the top ten causes of nonfatal injuries for children over five years old. For children over one, accidental injuries, including those caused by motor vehicle accidents, are the leading cause of death.

Overview of Pennsylvania Child Car Seat Laws

Pennsylvania’s car seat laws are probably better described as child restraint laws because they cover car seats, booster seats, and seat belts for all children under 18. These laws apply to all passenger vehicles, trucks, and motor homes.

The laws also apply to classic and antique motor vehicles. You may need to retrofit these vehicles to accommodate child seats.

What Do Pennsylvania’s Car Seat Laws Require?

The law sets up a four-tier system:

Rear-Facing Car Seat

Children must start in a rear-facing car seat. They must remain in a rear-facing car seat until they turn two years old or outgrow the seat’s weight and height limits, whichever occurs first.

Forward-Facing Car Seat

Children under four who no longer fall within the requirements for a rear-facing car seat must ride in a forward-facing car seat. The seat must meet federal regulations, which means that it must have a five-point harness and anchor securely to the vehicle. The child must use the forward-facing car seat until their fourth birthday.

Booster Seat

Booster seats elevate children high enough to use a car’s shoulder belts. Without the booster seat, the shoulder belt could either pass over the child’s head or cross the child’s neck. By lifting the child, booster seats secure the child’s lap and shoulder as intended. A child must remain in the booster seat until their eighth birthday in Pennsylvania.

Seat Belt

Pennsylvania blends its child car seat law with its seat belt law. 

Under the Pennsylvania law, seat belts must be worn by:

  • Passengers between the ages of 8 and 18, regardless of where they sit
  • Passengers in the front seat, regardless of age
  • Drivers, regardless of age

Pennsylvania makes exceptions to the seat belt law for certain situations, such as cars made before 1966 or people who have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a seat belt.

However, Pennsylvania makes no exceptions for child car seat laws. But some vehicles, including buses, are not covered by the car seat law. 

How Do Car Seats Protect Children in Car Accidents?

Children often get injured because they are not secured. Nearly 40% of children who died in a car crash were not in a car seat or wearing a seat belt.

And among those who are buckled up, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates over 45% of child seats and booster seats get misused.

Some common forms of misuse include:

  • The wrong type of car seat for the child’s age or size
  • Incorrect harness adjustment
  • Outdated or damaged car seat
  • Improper installation

Using a car seat correctly can reduce the risk of fatal injuries by over 70% in infants and over 50% in toddlers. The seats are designed to protect children based on their height and weight. They provide protection and keep your child restrained in an accident. 

What Types of Injuries Usually Happen to a Child Involved in a Car Accident?

Some common injuries that happen to children involved in collisions include: 

Car seats are designed to prevent injuries. When used correctly, the greatest risk is that the collision will happen where the car seat has been anchored. 

When used incorrectly, the greatest risk is ejection. A child ejected from a car seat or booster seat can collide with the vehicle’s interior. In a rollover accident or head-on collision, the child could even get ejected from the vehicle, causing catastrophic injuries.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers if Your Child Was Injured in a Collision

If your child was injured in a car accident, help is available. Contact Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your child’s accident and injuries.