Child Passenger Safety Laws
Child Safety Seats
The Four Golden Rules to Child Safety Seats
- Be sure your child is in the appropriate seat for the child’s size and weight.
- Be sure the child safety seat is appropriate for your vehicle (read the owner’s manual for both the child safety seat and your vehicle to determine this.)
- Place your child in the safety seat properly EACH TIME.
- Register your child safety seat with the manufacturer to be notified of any recalls that may affect your child safety seat.
The Child Passenger Protection Act was established to protect the health and safety of children through the proper use of “approved child restraint systems”. Significant provisions of the Act include:
- Children under age eight must be secured in a child safety seat.
- Persons eight to 16 years of age must be secured in a properly adjusted seat belt regardless of seat position in the vehicle.
- All persons under the age of 18 must be secured by a child safety seat or safety belt when the vehicle they are riding in is driven by a person under the age of 18.
- Parents or legal guardians of a child under eight are responsible for providing an approved child safety seat to anyone who transports his or her child.
- “Approved child restraint systems” refers to any device which meets the standards of the United States Department of Transportation.
Illinois law states that:
- Each driver and front seat passenger of a motor vehicle must wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat safety belt.
- Each driver of a motor vehicle transporting a child less than 16 years of age shall secure that child in either a child restraint system or in a properly adjusted seat safety belt.
- No person may operate a 1965 or later model vehicle unless the front seats are equipped with two sets of safety belts.
The Illinois Graduated Licensing System requires all passengers under the age of 18 to wear a safety belt when riding in a vehicle being driven by a person under the age of 18. If a graduated driver’s license holder is under the age of 18 when they receive their license, they must not, for the first six months or until they reach the age of 18, operate a vehicle with more than one passenger under the age of 20, unless the passenger(s) is a sibling(s), step-sibling(s), children, or step-children of the driver.
Under these Child Passenger Protection Act guidelines a child:
- Under the age of eight must be secured in a child safety seat.
- Eight years of age, but less than 16, must be secured in a seat belt.
Sixteen and 17 year olds must be secured by a safety belt when the vehicle they are riding in is driven by a person under the age of 18.
Wearing Your Seat Belt Correctly
- Lap belts, as well as the lap portion of a lap/shoulder belt combination, should be adjusted so that they lie low across the hips and over the upper thighs. Lap belts should not lie across the abdomen. To be most effective, they must lie over the pelvis, on of the stronger bones of the body. Adjust the lap belt so that it is snug. Any slack allows the body to move around during a crash and increases the risk of injury.
- The shoulder belt should lie across the chest and over the collarbone with little, in any, slack. It should not lie across the front of the neck or face.
- Lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent.
- For light truck occupants, seat belts reduce the risk or fatal injury by 60 percent.
Safe Kids Champaign County’s Best Practice Recommendations
Safe Kids Champaign County recommends:
- All driver’s and occupants should be properly secured in a motor vehicle with either a seat belt or an “approved child restraint system” no matter age or seating position.
- All children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat of the vehicle. If you must put a child under the age of 13 years in the front seat, be sure the seat is all the way back and the airbag is shut off. The biggest (usually the oldest) child should always be the first choice when having to position a child in the front.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you keep all children rear facing for as long as possible, up to 2 years or longer if the child safety seat permits it.
- Children over the age of 8 years should continue to ride in a booster seat until they fit into an adult seat belt properly. This is usually at 4’9” and 80 lbs.
- Children should remain in a child restraint with a harness as long as possible. Most child safety seats only go to 40 lbs but there are some that go to 65 lbs or higher. The longer you can keep a child in the harness system the safer they will be.
- After your child outgrows the child safety seat with harness, move them into an appropriate booster seat using a lap/shoulder belt only.
- Whether in a seatbelt or booster seat, make sure the lap belt is going across the child’s hips and the shoulder belt is going across the chest and shoulder. Never let your child put the shoulder belt behind his/her back or under the armpit.
For more information on Child Passenger Safety please visit Safe Kid’s Child Safety Seat Inspection Station.
Appointments can be made by calling 217-353-4932.