Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles car seat laws require that all children up until the age of 8 be restrained in a moving vehicle regardless of weight or height. In order to help you keep your child safe, we have compiled a simple guide that will walk you through each stage of Virginia’s seatbelt laws and offer you a few of the top dos and don’ts of seatbelt use for children.
There are 4 stages of seatbelt laws ranging from infant to adult:
Stage 1: For infants under 2 years, it is recommended that the car seat is REAR FACING. Each manufacturer is different so be sure to read directions carefully to ensure child has not surpassed the height limit of the seat.
Stage 2: FORWARD FACING seats are optional starting at the age of 1 or after the child has reach 20 lbs. For optimal safety, keep child in rear facing car seat for as long as height and weight restrictions of seat manufacturer allow.
Stage 3: A BOOSTER SEAT is the next step for a child after they surpass the height and weight requirements of the manufacturer for the forward facing seat.
Stage 4: Lastly, an ADULT SEAT BELT will be used after the age of 8.
Car Seat Dos and Don’ts:
- Never position a rear facing car seat facing forward.
- Always read and follow seat instructions in their entirety.
- Visit a local police station or fire department to ensure seat is installed correctly.
- Never put seat belt strap behind a child’s back.
- There should never be a time that a child is not strapped into a moving vehicle, regardless the length of the ride.
- No person should sit in the cargo area.
- Do not use a seat that had been recalled. It is recommended that it be no more than 6 years old.
- Always place seat in back if possible. If seat is placed in passenger seat, ensure that airbag is turned off.
For more information on Virginia car seat laws, click here.