Car Seat Safety

Child Car Safety Seat Checks are available on most days between 8am-5pm.

Reserve a spot with using form to ensure we get you in. Please note that it is best to bring the child with you to the appointment to ensure they can be properly secured in the seat.

Keeping up-to-date with Virginia’s Child Restraint Law helps ensure you are correctly using the right seat for your child’s age and size. Following these requirements greatly reduces the chances of death or serious injury in a crash. Your child’s safety in the car requires the right seat, used the right way, every time. Reserve your spot here to come by the station for assistance.

Virginia's child passenger safety laws require all children under 8 to be properly secured in a child safety seat or booster seat, regardless of weight or height.

FAQ

Virginia law does not specify age and height requirements for children riding in booster seats. All children under eight years old have to be secured in a child safety restraint system positioned in the back seat in vehicles made after January 1, 1968. The child safety restraint system must be appropriate for the child’s height and weight and meet all U.S. Department of Transportation regulations.
Children over the age of two, or children that meet the child safety restraint system’s weight requirements, can switch from a rear-facing car seat to a forward-facing car seat.

Virginia law does not specify when children can ride in the front seat of a vehicle. However, according to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles page, all children under the age of 13 should be correctly secured in the back seat of a motor vehicle.

Child Safety Seat Check Reservation

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The Four Stages of Car Seats

Rear-Facing Car Seat

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) now recommend that all children ride rear facing until 2 years of age or as long as the safety seat manufacturer allows. For optimal protection, use the rear-facing child restraint until the child is at the highest weight or height specified in the manufacturer’s instructions or on the safety seat labels.

  • Always position a rear-facing car seat toward the rear of the vehicle
  • Follow the installation instructions in the manual for the safety seat
  • Position the seat at the appropriate recline angle
  • Run the harness straps through the slots at or below the infant’s shoulders
  • Ensure that:
    • The belt path is closest to where the bottom vehicle seat cushion and back seat cushion meet
    • The retainer clip is at armpit level
    • The crotch strap is in the correct position and is not too long

Forward-Facing Car Seat

The forward-facing car seat should not be used until the child is at least two years of age, weighs at least 20 pounds, and has reached the highest allowed weight for a rear-facing safety seat. For optimal protection, use the forward-facing child restraint until the child is at the highest weight or height specified in the manufacturer’s instructions or on the safety seat labels.

  • Always position a forward-facing car seat toward the front of the vehicle
  • The safety seat should be kept in an upright position, although some manufacturers allow a semi-reclined position
  • Run the harness straps through the slots at or above the child’s shoulders

Booster Seat

When the child reaches the upper weight and height limits specified for a forward-facing car seat, a belt positioning booster can be considered for use. A child should remain in the booster seat until he/she is at least 8 years of age and 4 feet 9 inches tall.

The booster seat requires the use of a lap/shoulder belt and boosts the child to better fit the vehicle seat belt system. The lap belt should fit low and tight across the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt should rest over the center of the shoulder through the center of the chest.

Adult Seat Belt

To be able to use an adult seat belt, the child should be at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and at least 8 years of age, and should be:

  • Tall enough to comfortably sit without slouching
  • Able to keep his/her back against the vehicle seat back
  • Able to keep his/her knees completely bent over the edge of the seat
  • Able to keep his/her feet flat on the floor

The lap belt should fit low and tight across the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt should rest over the center of the shoulder through the center of the chest. If the seat belt does not fit properly, the child should use a booster seat.

Never put the shoulder belt under the child’s arm or behind the child’s back. This can cause serious internal injuries in a crash.

SOURCE: Virginia DMV