If you are a parent, then you probably already know the safest way for your child to ride in a vehicle is in a car seat. There have been many studies and a lot of research into this area in an attempt to ensure that laws regarding child seat use are in line with what will keep children safe in an accident. Connecticut’s law is on the leading edge, following guidelines from the latest research.
Because research shows that both keeping children in a rear-facing position and using a car seat for longer is better, the state’s laws reflect this. According to the Office of Legislative Research, an update in the laws increased the weight limits and added some other restrictions to car seat use.
1. General rules
The first thing to know about the state’s car seat law is the general rules for each age group. These laws cover children from birth until age seven, depending on weight. For children who are under 30 pounds, under the age of two, the requirement is a rear-facing seat. For ages two to four or weights 30 to 29 pounds, the requirement is a front or rear-facing seat. Both age groups must use a seat with a five-point harness. Older children, from age five to seven who are 40 to 59 pounds, should be in a booster seat.
Because the laws cover both age and weight, your child may fall into two categories. If this happens, you always need to go with the option for the most protection. Rear-facing is the highest level of protection, front-facing is in the middle and a booster seat is the least restrictive. So, if your child is five but weighs 38 pounds, then he needs to be in a front or rear-facing car seat, not a booster seat.
3. Stiff penalties
If you transport your child in no car seat or in one that is in conflict with the law, you can face serious penalties. You may pay a fine up to $199, and if it happens more than two times, you could face misdemeanor charges.
Keeping your child safe when in a vehicle is very important. Regular car seats do not suit a child’s body and cannot provide adequate protection in a crash, which is why you must use the proper child seat.