02 Jul CT Car Seat Laws
Every parent remembers the day they brought their children into the world… the anxiousness that led up to the day, the experience during labor and delivery, and the incredible moment you laid eyes on your precious baby for the first time. The entire experience takes you through the entire range of emotions, and most parents are absolutely ready for the day they can finally bring their baby home. However, any parent can attest to just how nerve-wracking that first drive with a baby is!
In that moment, we realize, not only how delicate and fragile this precious life is, but also how quickly things can change in the blink of an eye on the road. If you’re a new parent or are soon to be one, take a deep breath here! We promise, your nerves are completely valid, but that’s why you’re here! Let’s talk about the facts, the laws (in Connecticut), and what you can do to keep your baby safe until they’re ready to sit in the car all on their own.
Car Seat Safety Statistics:
- When used properly, car safety seats can reduce the chance of death by 70% in infants under 1 year, and by 54% in toddlers aged 1 to 4 years old.
- Booster seat use can reduce the chance of serious injury by 45% in children between 4-8 years old.
- Seat belt usage can reduce the chance of serious injury by up to 50% in older children and adults.
Source: American SPCC
What are the laws in Connecticut for Car Seats?
Stage 1: Under Age 2 and Under 30 lbs
In CT, the laws for Child Passenger Safety can be broken up into four stages for appropriate child safety measures. The first begins the day you bring your infant home until they are two years old and weigh at least 30 pounds. It’s important to place special emphasis on the fact that this is not about which prerequisite comes first. Your child must meet both the weight and the age requirement before they can be moved up from this group. In this first stage, children must remain in a rear-facing car seat.
Stage 2: Age 2-5 and Under 40 lbs
Children who are between 2-5 years old and weigh over 30 lbs are required to sit in a forward-facing car seat with a 5 point harness until they are at least 5 years old and weigh at least 40 lbs.
Stage 3: Age 5-8 and Under 60 lbs
Children who are between 5-8 years old and weigh over 4o lbs are required to sit in a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt until they are at least 8 years old and weigh at least 60 lbs.
Stage 4: Age 8-18 and Over 60 lbs
Under Connecticut State law, passengers between 8-15 years old and weighing at least 60 lbs are required to wear a seatbelt at all times. All passengers, regardless of age, are required to wear a seat belt when the vehicle is operated by a person under 18 years old. Rear seat passengers weighing at least 60 lbs and at least 16 years old are not required by law to wear a seatbelt, but we always suggest that all passengers wear their seatbelts at all times. Children should ride in the backseat until they are at least 13 years old.
Sources: ctsafekids.org and cga.ct.gov
Other child passenger safety concerns to be aware of
- Always refer to the safety manual provided to you by the car seat manufacturer when installing the car seat and strapping in your child.
- If your child’s car seat has a chest clip, buckle it at the armpit level, and never leave it unbuckled or positioned too high or too low.
- Make sure the harness straps are snug, with no slack in the straps. If you can pinch the straps between your fingers, they’re too loose.
- In cold weather, never strap your child in with a blanket or coat on. Bulky jackets and blankets will make it difficult to strap the child in and they will be too loose in the straps. Put blankets and coats over the buckled harness and dress your child in light layers underneath.
- For more helpful car seat tips, please visit CDC.gov for their Motor Vehicle Safety tips and graphics. They can provide a more comprehensive overview of all the safety precautions to take with helpful visuals.
Please Note: The laws described in the above blog are accurate as of 7/6/2020 and apply only to the State of Connecticut. These laws may be subject to change after 7/6/2020 and are subject to change on a state-by-state basis. Always check on the most up-to-date traffic laws and abide by them. This blog is not a legally binding piece of legislation. We cannot validate the effectiveness of these laws after 7/6/2020.