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West Virginia Car Seat Laws

Woman Buckling Up Seatbelt

Car seats and boosters protect young children and infants in the event of a traffic accident. Unfortunately, car crashes remain a leading cause of injury and death for children between the ages of one and thirteen. It’s important to utilize the proper safety device for your child when driving, and if someone else is caring for your child, they should likewise exercise the proper respect for vehicle safety. Continue reading to learn about West Virginia’s car seat laws, and if you or your child has been injured in a West Virginia car crash, call an experienced Martinsburg motor vehicle accident lawyer for advice and assistance.

West Virginia Car Seat Requirements

There are not very many strict requirements for car seats in West Virginia. For the most part, the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles simply directs parents and other caregivers to follow the car seat and booster seat recommendations provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

West Virginia’s Child Passenger Safety Law includes the following requirements:

  • Children under the age of eight and under four feet and nine inches tall must be properly secured in a federally approved child safety seat or booster seat

  • Children aged eight or older, or children who reach 4’9” before turning eight, may be secured by a car’s safety belt rather than by a booster seat or car seat

Parents who fail to properly secure their children in an appropriate safety restraint can be fined $10 or $20 for a first offense. Parents and others in charge of the care of children who fail to properly secure children can be held liable for any harm that comes to the children as a result of their lack of proper safety apparatus.

West Virginia Safety Recommendations

Although West Virginia law specifies only that children under eight should be secured by an appropriate car seat or booster seat, the state follows the recommendations from NHTSA regarding the proper safety device for children depending upon the child’s age and size. Generally, safety officials recommend the following:

  • Infants (newborns and small babies) should be secured by a rear-facing car seat
  • Forward-facing restraints can be used for toddlers
  • Booster seats can be used for older children
  • Children should remain in the back seat of the vehicle until age 13

Parents should use the appropriate brand, make, and size of car seat based on their child’s measurements and the vehicle. Different car seats fit different types of vehicles differently, and the car seat utilized should be adjusted as the child grows. Parents should take care to install and utilize the seats correctly. If the child is old enough or big enough for a seat belt, the caretaker should ensure the seat belt fits the child properly (sitting across the upper thighs and snug across the child’s shoulder and chest area, rather than resting on the stomach or across the neck or face).

Help With Your Martinsburg Car Accident Claim

If you or someone you care about has been hurt in a motor vehicle accident in West Virginia, call the zealous and effective Martinsburg personal injury attorneys Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson at 304-263-0900 or (304) LAWYERS for a free consultation.

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