SAN MATEO, Calif. – Beginning January 1, 2012, all children ages 8 and under must be properly buckled into a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
The previous law required that children remain in a booster seat until the age of 6, or until they weighed 60 pounds.
“This new law will help protect more children from being seriously injured during a crash,” said Patrice Christensen, RN, San Mateo County Emergency Medical Services Injury
Prevention Program Coordinator. “Booster seats are necessary to make adult-sized seat belts fit a child-sized body. A seat belt that doesn’t fit a child correctly can result in lifethreatening injuries.”
Children 8 years or older may use the vehicle seat belts if they are tall enough for the belt system to fit properly; otherwise, they should continue to use a booster seat. If your child is
placing the shoulder belt behind their arm or back, this is a sign that he or she may still need a booster. You know your child is ready to ride without a booster when:
1. He/she can sit against the back of the vehicle seat with knees bent without slouching, and comfortably stay in this position throughout the trip.
2. The lap belt is low on the hips, touching the upper thighs.
3. The shoulder belt crosses the shoulder and chest without touching the child’s face or neck.
Everyone in the car must be properly buckled up. Parents and drivers of children under the age of 16, who do not follow this law, can be fined a minimum of $475 and get a point on
their driving record.
For more information about car seats, the new law or help determining whether your child still needs a booster seat, contact Patrice Christensen (650) 573-3728, your local CHP Office
or visit cdph.ca.gov/vosp