Illinois Car Seat Law (2019)

Parents strive to keep their children safe when they ride in vehicles. However, it can be confusing for parents to understand what kind of child safety seat to use and which state laws apply to their situation.

In this state, the Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act outlines what parents and guardians of younger children must do when they are inside the vehicle. This law states that children who are under the age of eight (8) must be properly secured in the appropriate child safety seat, including the use of booster seats that are to be used with lap and shoulder safety belts.

There have been changes to this law. As of January 1, 2019, the Child Passenger Protection Act was amended to say that children under the age of two must be properly secured in a rear-facing child safety seat unless the child weighs more than 40 pounds or is over 40 inches tall.

What Age are Children Allowed to Sit in the Front?

Under state law, children aged 8 to 12 must continue to ride in the back seat of a vehicle. It is recommended that children stay in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are tall enough to properly use an adult lap and safety belt system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as the Centers for Disease Control all,  recommend that children under the age of 13 continue to ride in the back seat of the vehicle. Doctors recommend this because they say children under 12 have not yet fully developed their bones and have an increased risk of vital organ damage in a car accident.

If there are no back seats in a vehicle, a child can ride in a two-seater only if they are properly restrained according to the Child Passenger Protection Act and the front passenger airbag is turned off.

What Dangers do Children Face Inside the Vehicle?

By using the proper child safety restraint systems, parents and guardians are ensuring that children remain safe if an accident occurs. During the latest reporting year in Illinois, the state DOT tells us that there were 311,679 total vehicle crashes. Out of those, there were:

  • 66,889 injury crashes
  • 998 fatal crashes

The data goes into detail regarding the age of victims in these crashes. According to the Illinois DOT:

  • 1,673 kids under four (4) years of age were injured in crashes.
    • 137 were catastrophic injuries
    • 12 children under four (4) were killed
  • 1,888 children aged five (5) to nine (9) were injured in crashes.
    • 143 were catastrophic injuries
    • 11 children in this age range were killed

Kids are susceptible to major injuries in the event of a crash, especially if they are not properly restrained in the vehicle. We commonly see the following injuries in children in the aftermath of a crash:

An injury to a young child can affect them for the rest of their lives. By properly following state laws regarding child safety in a vehicle, parents and guardians are taking the steps necessary to prevent these serious injuries. If you are not sure whether you have properly installed your child’s safety seats, you should know that many local police departments, fire departments, and hospitals have staff on hand trained to install and check these seats for you.