Washington State Car Seat Laws 2017

December 1, 2016

The current car seat laws for Washington State in 2017 are as follows:

Children up to age 1

Infants must ride in rear-facing infant seats until they are 1 years old or weight 20lbs.


  • The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to keep toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat.
  • As of January 1, 2017, California law now states that “hildren under 2 years of age shall ride in a rear-facing car seat unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds OR is 40 or more inches tall. “
  • Never place an infant in a rear-facing child safety seat in the front seat with an air bag. In a crash, the air bag comes out of the dashboard with its force directed at the back of the infant’s head if riding in the front passenger seat.” – Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Children ages 1 – 4

Children 1 to 4 years old or weighing under 40 pounds are to ride in forward-facing child car seat. A forward-facing, five-point harness seat is recommended by many safety agencies.


  • The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that most children will need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.

Children ages 4 – 8

Children who have met the age and weight requirements above can go to a booster seat.


  • Until a child reaches 4’9″ of height, they can not properly use a seat belt.

Children ages 8 and above

Children less than 13 years old are to be transported in the back seat, where it is practical to do so. – Washington Law (RCW 46.61.687)


  • No person may operate a motor vehicle unless all children passengers under the age 16 are either wearing a safety belt or are securely fastened in an approved child restraint device. – Washington’s Seat Belt Law (RCW 46.61.688)
  • The rear seat is the safest place in the car for children younger than 13 years.- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • All passengers ages 13 and older need to wear a lap and shoulder belt when riding in the front seat.
    Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Source: https://www.wsp.wa.gov/traveler/d4faqs.htm


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