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An Illinois Parent and Caregiver Guide to Car Seat Laws

Properly installed car seats can prevent some serious injuries if a traffic accident occursCar seats won’t prevent accidents, but they can prevent some serious accident injuries when they are used correctly. A car seat could even save your child’s life in a catastrophic crash. Accordingly, it is important to understand what seat your child should be in according to his age, his size, and the requirements of Illinois law.

The Rules in Illinois

Each state has its own car seat laws. As of July 2015, Illinois law required you to have your child in a:

  • Rear-facing car seat: Infants should be in rear-facing car seats every time they are in a car, beginning at birth. It is recommended that children remain in rear-facing car seats until they are at least two years old and they reach the weight and height limit on the car seat. The law, however, requires that they remain in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least one year old and 20 pounds.
  • Forward-facing car seat: After they outgrow their rear-facing car seats, toddlers and young children should ride in forward-facing car seats. They should remain in forward-facing car seats until they are about four years old and weigh 40 to 65 pounds.
  • Booster seat: Children are required to ride in booster seats after they graduate from their forward-facing car seats until they are at least eight years old. Typically, children should remain in booster seats until they reach a height of 4 feet, 9 inches.

All of these car seats should be anchored in the back seat of the vehicle, and it is recommended that all children aged 12 and under ride in the back seat even when they outgrow the need for a booster seat. Remember, if your child is smaller than average or has special needs, then there may be additional ways that you can keep your child safe in the car.

Illinois Law Places the Responsibility on the Driver and Parents

Whether you are the child’s parent or you are the one transporting the child, you have a responsibility to make sure that the child is in a proper car seat according to Illinois law. Any person transporting a child has a responsibility to secure a child in an appropriate car seat. Additionally, parents are responsible for providing a car seat to anyone who transports their child.

There are financial penalties for violating the law. As of 2015, a first offense may result in a ticket of $75 and a second offense may result in a ticket of $200. But the penalties may be far steeper and extend far beyond financial penalties if a child is hurt or dies while in your vehicle.

To learn more about keeping your child safe, please talk to your pediatrician or local police department.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham