New state law could keep kids in booster seats until middle school

U.S. & World

As if middle school wasn’t bad enough, imagine rolling up in the carpool line and hopping out of your booster seat.

That’s what will happen to some kids after Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee signed stricter car seat regulations into law, meaning children under the age of 12 and shorter than 4 feet 9 inches must sit in a booster seat.

House Bill 1012 says a child must remain in a booster “until the vehicle lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly, typically when the child is between the ages of eight and twelve years of age, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, or must be properly secured with the motor vehicle’s safety belt properly adjusted and fastened around the child’s body.”

Children under 13 years old must sit in the back seat of the vehicle.

For children under 2 years old, they must remain in rear-facing car seats until they reach the height and weight specifications set by the seat manufacturer. Children aged 2 to 4 can be forward-facing in a car seat until they reach the specifications for a booster seat.

If a driver is found in violation of the new law, they can be cited with a traffic infraction.

This law doesn’t apply to for-hire vehicles, buses or various shuttles.

The new guidelines go into effect January 1, 2020.

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