What Is the California Law for Booster Seats

Title: California Law for Booster Seats: Ensuring Child Safety on the Road


When it comes to the safety of our children, there is no compromise. California, like many other states, has implemented strict laws regarding the use of booster seats to protect young passengers during car journeys. Understanding these laws and their requirements is essential for parents and guardians to ensure the safety and well-being of their children. In this article, we will explore the California law for booster seats, its importance, and address frequently asked questions to provide clarity on this crucial topic.

California Law for Booster Seats:

The California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 27360 outlines the legal requirements for booster seats in the state. According to this law, children under the age of eight must be secured in a proper restraint system while traveling in a motor vehicle. The restraint system must meet certain specifications based on the child’s age, weight, and height.

Children under two years old:

Infants and toddlers under the age of two must be secured in a rear-facing car seat, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This requirement ensures maximum protection for their developing neck, spine, and head in the event of a collision.

Children aged two to eight:

For children aged two to eight, or weighing between 40 and 80 pounds, and measuring less than 4 feet 9 inches tall, a forward-facing car seat with a harness is mandatory. The harness should be properly adjusted to fit the child snugly, ensuring optimal protection.

Children over eight:

Once a child reaches the age of eight, or exceeds the height and weight requirements mentioned above, they may transition to using a booster seat. A booster seat lifts the child up, allowing the vehicle’s seat belt to fit them correctly. It ensures that the seat belt is positioned across the child’s lap and shoulder, minimizing the risk of injury in the event of an accident.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q1: Are there any exceptions to the booster seat law?

A: Yes, exceptions include instances where a child is being transported by a public transit vehicle, emergency situations, or if a child has a medical condition that makes proper restraint impractical.

Q2: Can I use a booster seat with just a lap belt?

A: No, it is crucial to use a booster seat with both lap and shoulder belts. This ensures that the seat belt is positioned correctly, providing optimal protection for the child.

Q3: Can I use a booster seat in the front seat of the vehicle?

A: It is recommended to place children in the back seat whenever possible. However, if the vehicle does not have a back seat or if all back seats are occupied by other children under the age of eight, a child may use a booster seat in the front seat. However, ensure that the vehicle’s airbags are disabled to prevent potential harm to the child in case of deployment.

Q4: What are the penalties for non-compliance with the booster seat law?

A: Violating the California law for booster seats can result in fines starting from $100 for the first offense, increasing up to $500 for subsequent offenses.

Q5: Are there any additional recommendations for child passenger safety?

A: It is always advised to refer to the specific manufacturer’s instructions for installing and using the child restraint system correctly. Additionally, parents and guardians should periodically check for any recalls or safety updates related to their child’s car seat or booster seat.


The California law for booster seats is an essential measure aimed at protecting our children during car journeys. Adhering to these requirements ensures that children are secured in an appropriate restraint system that matches their age, weight, and height. By understanding and following these regulations, parents and guardians can significantly reduce the risk of injury and provide a safe traveling experience for their little ones.

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