Illinois Car Seat Laws And Keeping Your Child Safe

Those car seats that line the shelves of your local Target or Wal-Mart aren’t just cutesy products for your child. Each one is legally certified up to standards, and there are some state laws about how you should use them. For this post, we’ll be looking at the state of Illinois in particular. Following these car seat laws can help keep everyone in your car safe, especially your little ones.

Car Seat Laws in Illinois 

There are some specific laws when it comes to car seats in Illinois, but we’ll start with the general regulations first. Every driver is expected to secure their child using the appropriate car seat or child restraint seat based on their age. Weight can also be a deciding factor. 

These child restraint seats include:

  • Rear-facing child seats – Infants and toddlers are usually seated in these until they turn five or outgrow them. There are some seats that convert from backward to forward-facing. 
  • Forward-facing child seats – Children start riding in forward-facing seats usually when they start preschool. These seats should be fitted with a harness. 
  • Booster seats – Your child then grows into a booster seat by the time they turn eight. They sit in a booster until the car’s seat belts fit them properly. This can be around the age of ten. Another general law is that children should always ride in the back until they turn 13. 

Rear-Facing Child Seats Laws in Illinois

The Illinois seat laws require that every child under two years old must be in a rear-facing seat. However, if the child weighs more than 40 pounds, they can move to a forward-facing seat. 

Forward-Facing Child Seats Laws in Illinois 

The average age where children are seated in forward-facing seats is when they are three to five years old, according to the NHTSA. They also make the recommendation that children remain there until they turn seven. Seat manufacturers usually enclose a height or weight for their seats in the owner’s manual. 

Booster Seats Laws in Illinois 

The NHTSA recommends children ages seven to twelve use a booster seat. This is until they grow into the car’s seat belts. But as you already know, weight and height can play a role, so some children are able to be seated in booster seats while toddlers. There’s no formal law regarding booster seats in the state of Illinois.

Illinois Seat Belt Laws

With the car seat regulations and averages in mind, let’s look at the seat belt laws of Illinois. Seat belts are required for everyone in the car regardless of age. When children turn eight, they have to use the car’s seat belt while sitting in a booster seat. If your car doesn’t have over-the-shoulder belts, lap and waist belts can only be used on children weighing more than 40 pounds.

Seat And Belt Violations in Illinois 

A violation of an Illinois seat belt law results in a $25 fine. Not fastening a child properly can result in much higher fines -typically $75 for the first offense and $200 for the second. Child passenger safety courses are available to avoid fines for first-time offenders. Child endangerment is a serious but avoidable violation.

Safely Fastening a Child in a Car Seat

You can have your child’s car seats checked at fitting stations and even register to get the latest updates on it. This can also be especially helpful for monitoring your child’s growth. The NHTSA has recommendations on their website, or you can consult your pediatrician.

Car Seat Fitting Stations 

There are certified child passenger safety stations you can take your car and child’s seat to. They can inspect and help install your child’s car seat. The NHTSA has a database to find the location nearest to you.

Follow The Illinois Car Seat Laws to Keep Your Child Safe 

By following the car seat laws and heeding the NHTSA recommendations, you can drive with peace of mind knowing that your child is safe and secure in their seat.


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