Washington's New Child Restraint Law

Effective June 1, 2007, children less than eight years old must be restrained in child restraint systems, unless the child is four feet nine inches or taller. A child who is eight years old or older, or four feet nine inches or taller, must be properly restrained either with the motor vehicle's safety belt or an appropriately fitting child restraint system. Children under thirteen years old must be transported in rear seats where it is practical to do so.

The fine for improperly restrained children in motor vehicles is at least $112 per child.

For more information on choosing the safest seat for your child, please call 1-800-BUCK-L-UP toll-free.

Washington's Child Restraint Law

The law was the work of a bi-partisan legislative effort spurred on by a Walla Walla parent, Autumn Alexander Skeen. 

Autumn lost her four-year-old son, Anton Skeen in a rollover collision. Anton was using a seat belt in accordance with state law at the time.  Yet,  because seat belts are built for adult bodies, he slid out of his seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle and crushed in the collision.  

On June 1, 2007, Washington's revised Child Restraint Law went into effect. This law, also known as the Anton Skeen Act, is one of the strongest child restraint laws in the nation. It requires the use of booster seats for older children. In 2000, Washington was the first state in the nation to pass this type of law.

KEY PROVISIONS of Washington's Child Restraint law:

. Children under 13 years old be transported in the back seat where it is practical to do so.

. Children up to their 8th birthday, unless they are 4'9" tall (which ever comes first), must ride in a child restraint. (For example a child car seat, booster seat, vest, or other restraint that is federally approved for use in the car.)

. The restraint system must be used correctly according to the car seat AND vehicle manufacturer's instructions.

. Vehicles equipped with lap-only seat belts are exempt from the requirement to use a booster seat.

. Children 8-years of age or at least 4'9" who wear a seat belt MUST use it correctly (never under the arm or behind the back) or continue to use a booster.

Shoulder belts must be used with booster seats at all times! A child is exempt from the booster seat law requirement, only when a child weighs 40 pounds or more and is in a vehicle with lap-only belts.

NOTE: Doctors and safety experts recommend that children ride in booster seats until the lap and shoulder belt fit right, usually when they are at least 4'9" tall, or around 8 years old.

Click here for full text of the Anton Skeen Law in (.pdf)

Click here for information on other state's booster seat laws.