2023 California Car Seat Law: Age & Weight Recommendations

Last update:

For parents living in California (CA) or traveling with children through the state, it’s important to know the car seat laws-California.

As of 2023, all car and booster seats must be compliant with the updated California car seat laws.

This means that they need to follow the new safety standards set by the state of California.

Here is the quick run-down of what you need to know about the California car seat law for 2023:

  • Children under the age of 2 should be placed in a rear-facing car seat, unless they weigh 40 pounds or more or are at least 40 inches in height.
  • Children under 8 years old or under 4’9″ in height should use a car seat or booster seat in the rear of the vehicle.
  • Children 8 years and older or those who are at least 4’9″ tall can either use a booster seat or a regular seat belt. (Reference: California Vehicle Code Section 27363)

After that, they can ride in a forward-facing car seat with height and weight limits set by the manufacturer. (Reference: California Vehicle Code Section 27360)

This guide explains the car seat rules in California so that you can be sure that your child is always safe and secure while on the road in California. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

California Booster Seat Law: What You Need To Know

If you have a child who is between the ages of 8 and 12 years (recommendation of booster seat age-California), or who weighs between 40 and 65 pounds (recommendation of booster seat weight-California), you’ll need to use a booster seat when driving in California.

Booster seats help to raise a child up so that they can safely wear a seat belt. The recommended height for booster seats in California is 4’9″.

When your child outgrows their booster seat, they can safely use a seat belt if they are at least 4’9″ tall. If they are not yet 4’9″, they must continue to use a booster seat.

It’s important to follow the law when it comes to using booster seats, as it could help to save your child’s life in the event of an accident.

Make sure to also teach your child about the importance of wearing a seat belt, even when they are old enough or at least 165 pounds to use one without a booster seat.

California booster seat law does not emphasize graduating your child from a 5-point harness car seat to a booster, but they do give the recommendation.

Because of the safety of your child, it is recommended to keep them in a 5-point harness as long as possible, which is until they reach the max height or weight for that seat.

If your child has outgrown the height or weight limits for their 5-point harness car seat, you can graduate them to a belt-positioning booster seat.

To learn more about booster seat laws in other cities in the US, you can check out the following links:
Ohio Booster Seat Law
Indiana Booster Seat Law
Michigan Booster Seat Law

California Rear Facing Law

If you’re looking for information on the California rear-facing car seat law, you’ve come to the right place.

California rear-facing law requires that children less than 2 years old be seated in a rear-facing car seat until and unless their weight is equal to or less than 40 pounds, or their height is equal to or less than 40 inches.

So, if you’re pregnant and live in California, it’s important to start thinking about how you’ll transport your child once they’re born.

There are a few different types of rear-facing car seats available on the market.

You can choose between an infant-only seat or a convertible seat. Whatever you choose, make sure your child must fulfill the criteria listed above.

When choosing a car seat, it’s important to make sure that it is installed correctly.

You can find instructions for installing your car seat online or in the manual that came with it. It’s also important to remember to buckle your child in using the five-point harness system whenever you’re driving.

To learn more about rear-facing car seat laws in other cities in the US, you can check out the following links:
Florida Rear-Facing Car Seat Law
Oregon Rear-Facing Car Seat Law
Virginia Rear-Facing Car Seat Law

California Forward-facing Car Seat Law

The California Forward-facing Car Seat Law is a new law that went into effect in 2017. It requires that children who have outgrown rear-facing car seats be placed in California forward-facing car seats.

The law applies to children who are 4 years old or weigh 40 pounds or are 40 inches tall.

The purpose of the Forward facing car seat law-CA is to keep children safer while they are in cars. Rear-facing car seats provide more protection than forward-facing car seats in the event of a crash.

However, many children have outgrown them by the time they are 4 years old. This law will ensure that these children are still safely secured in cars.

California child front seat law does not apply to children who are traveling in a taxi, bus, or other commercial vehicle. It also does not apply to children who are traveling in a car with a lap belt only.

The California forward-facing car seat law is an important step in keeping children safe while they are traveling in cars. It will help to protect many children who might not have been protected before.

To learn more about forward-facing car seat laws in other US states, you can check out Mississippi, Tennessee, and New Mexico forward-facing car seat laws.

CA Child Seat Laws: Leaving Child in Car Law in California

Leaving a child in a car while the parent goes into a store can be a very dangerous situation.

According to California child seat law, it is not legal to leave a child who is below the age of 6 in a car.

If caught, the parent will be fined $100. As per California Vehicle Code Section 15620, children should be with someone who is at least twelve years old.

In California, the weather can get very hot. This can be extremely dangerous for children who are left in cars. When it is hot outside, the inside of a car can get extremely hot very quickly.

This can cause serious health problems for children, including heat stroke and dehydration.

Leaving a child in a car, even for a short amount of time, is a risky situation.

It is important to always follow the California child safety seat law and make sure that children are never left alone in a car. If you see a child alone in a car, please call 911 immediately.

To gain a broader perspective on laws regarding leaving children unattended in vehicles, explore the regulations in states such as New York, Delaware, and Massachusetts. Familiarizing yourself with the various statutes across the country will help you better understand the legal implications of this important safety issue.

Taxi Car Seat Law in California

When it comes to taxi car seats in the state of California, there is a general California child safety law that states that parents are responsible for their children first and foremost.

If the parents are not present, then the cab driver will be responsible. This is important to know as a taxi passenger in California, especially if you have small children with you.

Make sure you are aware of the California child car seat laws in case something happens while you’re riding in a taxi.

Read Also: 2022 Illinois Car Seat Law: Everything You Need To Know

Upcoming Changes To California Car Seat Law

The update To California car seat law was set in 2017 that says, children who are two years old minimum will be required to be in a forward-facing car seat.

According to this law, it is still important to keep all children in a car seat until they reach the weight limit for their particular car seat.

Additionally, it is always important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing and using a car seat.

Despite the upcoming change to the law, there have been no changes since then, and no pending proposals.

It is important to stay up-to-date on any changes that may occur, for this you can check California Highway Patrol, as they could affect how you transport your child in a car.

Read Also: 2022 Texas Car Seat Law: Everything You Need To Know

What are the California child seat belt laws?

As of the writing of this article, all 50 states in the United States of America have some type of law requiring the use of a seat belt for children. However, there is quite a bit of variation between these laws.

California child seat belt law requires that all children 8 years or older wear a seat belt when riding in a vehicle.

As a general, every person who is 16 years or older is required to wear a seat belt when riding in a motor vehicle.

Other states have different age requirements, with some mandating that all children below a certain age be restrained in a car seat or booster seat. And still other states leave it up to the parents to decide whether their child wears a seat belt or not.

While it is always safest for children to be properly restrained in accordance with state law, there are some exemptions depending on the age and weight of the child.

Seat belts are not just for kids – they’re also critical for the safety of adult motorists. In fact, according to data from the NHTSA, seat belts saved 14,955 lives in 2017 alone.

So whether you’re a parent buckling up your child or an adult buckling up yourself, always remember to buckle up for safety. It could just save your life.

Read Also: 2022 Georgia Car Seat Law: Everything You Need To Know

What Are The Penalties For Violating A California Car Seat Law?

According to the CA child restraint laws, the penalties for violating a California car seat law can be costly.

A ticket and fine of $100 is issued for the first offense, and the amount increases to $250 for every subsequent violation.

In addition, drivers will receive one point on their DMV driving record. This can lead to an increase in a person’s insurance rates.

CHP also warns that if a person ignores a ticket, they may be subject to violation of Vehicle Code 40508 and penalties under this code are:

  • A fine of not less than $1,000; and,
  • Imprisonment in the county jail for 6 months.

In some cases, a child may be injured or killed in an accident if not properly restrained in a car seat or booster seat.

It is therefore imperative that all drivers and passengers comply with California’s child restraint laws.

There are three common legal defenses for violating California’s car seat law.
These include:

  • Due to the certain emergency, it was reasonably necessary to not use a car seat.
  • The child has pediatric medical reason that prevents the use of a car seat.
  • The legal guardian or parent was a passenger in the vehicle and not the driver.

The third defense does not apply to the driver, as per Vehicle Code 27360c.

California Law Car Seat – Replacement After Accident

The California law car seat replacement after accident is a very important law to be aware of if you have children.

The law mandates that insurance companies must replace car seats after a major crash, and that car seats can be reused after a minor crash.

This is important information to know because it can help you make decisions about whether or not to replace your child’s car seat after a crash.

Overall, California car seat replacement law is a very important law that can help protect your children in the event of a car accident.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the law and take any necessary steps to ensure your child’s safety while travelling in a car.

California Rental and Ridesharing Car Seat Laws

According to California car seat laws, rental car companies must provide access to a child restraint system for any child who is 8 years or younger.

Ridesharing services, namely Uber and Lyft, abide by this law as well; though, the drivers of these cars are not legally required to provide a car seat.

However, it is always best to use a car seat when traveling with a child for their safety.

There are some services that allow you to bring your own car seat with you or provide you a car seat for an extra cost, such as Uber Car Seat and Uber Family.

These services provide a car seat with you for an additional fee. Lyft also has a policy that riders provide their own car seats for children under the age of 8. This policy is in place to ensure the safety of all passengers in Lyft cars.

Child Restraint Laws in California: How To Properly Install Child Restraint Systems

California child restraint law requires that all children under the age of 8 be properly secured in a car seat or booster seat.

This means that the car seat must be installed correctly, and the child must be properly buckled in.

Unfortunately, many parents make mistakes when it comes to installing and using car seats, which can put their children at risk.

To ensure that your child is as safe as possible, here are a few tips for properly installing and using a child restraint system:

  1. Always follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Make sure the car seat is properly secured to the vehicle seat. The seat should be tightly attached to the vehicle seat with either the car seat belt or LATCH system.
  3. Make sure the car seat is in the correct position. The car seat should be installed in the backseat of the vehicle, and should be facing forward.
  4. Make sure the harness straps are secure and properly positioned. The harness straps should be tight enough so that you cannot pinch them between your thumb and forefinger.
  5. Make sure that the chest clip is at armpit level.
  6. Check the car seat periodically to make sure it is still properly secured.

Following these guidelines will help ensure that your child is properly protected in the event of an accident.

For more information on car seat safety, please visit the California Highway Patrol’s website at www.chp.ca.gov.

To Help You Further, Find The Following Additional Resources

  1. California DMV’s Driver Handbook’s page on Child Restraints
  2. NHTSA’s free car seat safety: NHTSA Car Seat Inspection: near you
  3. Get a free inspection at a CHP (California Highway Patrol): nearest CHP office here.

FAQs: California Car Seat Law

When can a child stop using a car seat in California?

All children under the age of 8 years old must be buckled up in a booster car seat in the backseat whenever they are inside a moving vehicle.

If a child is over 8 years old and 4 feet 9 inches in height, he or she may ride without a car seat or booster but should still be secured by wearing a safety belt.

When Can My Child Sit in the Front Seat in California?

Front Seat Requirement California

Children under the age of thirteen should sit in the back seat of a vehicle. If the back seats are all taken by children aged thirteen and under, then one child over the age of thirteen may sit in the front seat in California with a safety belt.

Can a 10 year old sit in the front seat in California?

No, a child under the age of thirteen should sit in the back seat of a vehicle.

The Bottom Line: California Car Seat Law 2023

As a parent, it’s important to know the California car seat laws. These laws are in place to keep your child safe while riding in a car.

The laws are constantly changing, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest information.

California car seat laws state that all children under the age of 2 must ride in a rear-facing car seat.

Children aged 2-4 years old are required to ride in a car seat that faces the front of the vehicle, secured by a 5-point harness.

All children between the age of 4-8 years must be properly restrained in a car seat or booster seat.

Children who age 8 years or above and are having height of 4 feet 9 inches or more may use an adult seat belt.

It is also important to note that all car seats and booster seats must be properly installed and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you have any questions about the California car seat laws, be sure to speak with your child’s doctor or a certified car seat safety technician.

Stay safe on the road!

Photo of author


Hi, my name is Umair Ali and I am the founder and chief editor of CarSeatHeaven.com. My goal is to make car seat shopping simple and easy for parents. With so many fluffy, detailed, and complicated car seat reviews out there, it can be hard to make an informed decision. That's where I come in! I sort through all of the information for you and distill it down into simple, straightforward advice.

At CarSeatHeaven.com, we provide parents with all the information they need to make an informed decision when purchasing a car seat.