Pennsylvania Car Seat Laws 2022 (Rear, Forward & Booster)

pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania car seat laws, a child under 8 years of age must be restrained in the prescribed child restraint system. This includes rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster seats. The responsibility of safely buckling up children lies with the motor vehicle operator. A violation will result in a fine of $75. 

Disclaimer: This content does not constitute legal advice. It is solely for informational purposes. Always check the original source of the law for the latest version.

Pennsylvania Car Seat Laws

Pennsylvania Rear-Facing Car Seat Law

According to the rear-facing car seat law in Pennsylvania, a child under 2 years of age must be secured in a rear-facing passenger seat. (1) They should ride rear-facing till they outgrow the maximum weight and height limits prescribed by the car seat manufacturer. 

The rear-facing car seat age in Pennsylvania is 2 years. The infant should be secured in a rear-facing seat at least till that age as such seats offer maximum protection.

The responsibility of complying with Pennsylvania rear-facing child seat law rests with the operator of the motor vehicle. A breach of the law will constitute a summary offense. Upon conviction, the person will be fined $75. The judge will waive the fine if the person can provide evidence of acquiring a car seat. 

Age: Newborn to 2 years
Penalty:$75

Pennsylvania Forward-Facing Car Seat Law

According to the forward-facing car seat law in Pennsylvania, a child younger than 4 years has to be secured in a forward-facing seat with a harness. (1)

They should continue to ride in this seat till they reach the maximum height and weight limits recommended by the seat’s manufacturer. This requirement applies to all seating positions in the vehicle, including the cargo area. 

The forward-facing car seat age in Pennsylvania is 4 years and younger. The vehicle operator has the responsibility to ensure that the child is properly restrained.

They will be held liable for any violation of Pennsylvania forward-facing child seat law. It is a summary offense and carries a fine of $75. The fine can be waived if the person can show that they have acquired a car seat. 

Age: Newborn to 4 years
Penalty: $75

Pennsylvania Booster Seat Law

According to the child booster seat law in Pennsylvania, children older than 4 years but younger than 8 years must be secured in a booster seat. It can be a high back or backless booster seat, depending on your requirements.

The booster seat age in Pennsylvania is 4 to 8 years. But the National Highway Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends keeping your child in a booster seat till they are big enough in height and weight to fit in a seat belt. A properly secured seat belt is where the lap and shoulder belts sit snugly across their thighs and shoulders, respectively. 

A breach of Pennsylvania booster seat requirements will result in a fine of $75. The operator of the motor vehicle will be held responsible. 

Age: 4 to 8 years
Penalty: $75

Pennsylvania Child Front Seat Law

There is no child front seat law in Pennsylvania. Under Pennsylvania state law, a child can ride anywhere in the vehicle, including the cargo area. (1) However, they must be restrained in an appropriate car seat as per their height and weight requirements. 

If the rear-facing seat is kept in the front seat of the vehicle, the passenger-side airbag must be deactivated. In the case of a forward-facing or booster seat, the vehicle seat must be pushed as far back from the dashboard as possible. 

Even though the front seat age in Pennsylvania is absent, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recommends keeping children in the backseat till they are 13 years old. (2) This is in line with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 

Age: 13+ years (recommended)

Pennsylvania Child Seat Belt Law

According to the child seat belt law in Pennsylvania, children older than 8 years but under 18 years of age must wear an adult safety belt. (1) This applies to both the front seat and back seat. 

Seat belt rules in Pennsylvania do not apply to a driver or front seat occupant of a car that was manufactured before July 1, 1966; or to a rural letter carrier of the US postal service; or a driver who makes frequent stops and is traveling less than 15 miles per hour.

A driver or front seat passenger who has a medical or physical reason for not wearing a seat belt is also exempt from these requirements. 

A violation of Pennsylvania children’s seat belt law is punishable with a fine of $10.

Age: 8 to 17 years
Penalty: $10

Pennsylvania Taxi Child Seat Law

According to the taxi child seat law in Pennsylvania, taxis are not exempt from the law and are required to have car seats. A child under the age of 8 years must be secured in an appropriate rear-facing, forward-facing, or booster seat. (1) Violating the law carries a penalty of $75. 

Pennsylvania child seat laws place the responsibility of child passenger safety on the person transporting the child in a motor vehicle. However, it does not state that the taxi driver is responsible for having a taxi child seat in Pennsylvania. 

It is best for parents/caregivers to carry their child’s car seat. The cab driver can also carry a car seat. Since car seats vary for children of different ages, the driver can have a versatile all-in-one seat.

Pennsylvania Ridesharing Child Seat Law

There is no clear ridesharing child seat law in Pennsylvania. But the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation categorically states that ride-hailing services are not exempt from Pennsylvania car seat regulations. (3) However, it does not say who is responsible for providing a child seat. 

Under the law, children younger than 8 years old must be restrained in a federally-approved appropriate child safety restraint. (1) This includes a rear-facing set, a forward-facing seat, or a booster seat. Those aged 8 years or above must wear a seatbelt. 

Since car seat laws in Pennsylvania do not mention, who should provide a car seat, either the caregiver or driver of Uber or Lyft should carry it. In addition to protecting the child, it may also prevent any unintentional violation of the law.

Pennsylvania Child Seat Replacement Law

There is no express child seat replacement law in Pennsylvania. But the NHTSA recommends child seat replacement after an accident. 

In case of a moderate or severe accident in Pennsylvania, you must immediately replace the child safety seat. It may have defects that are not easily visible and can pose a risk. 

In case of a low-impact accident, there is no urgent need to replace the car seat. Such a crash is one when no passenger sustains injuries, the airbags didn’t deploy, there was no damage to the car seat and the vehicle could be driven away from the crash site.

You must also replace the car seat after it has passed its expiry date prescribed by the manufacturer or your child has outgrown it. 

Leaving Child in the Car in Pennsylvania

According to the law on leaving a child in a vehicle in Pennsylvania, it is illegal to leave a child under 6 years of age unattended in a vehicle. (4)

The person who is driving or in charge of a motor will be held responsible for endangering the safety of the child. Leaving a child in the car in Pennsylvania is a summary offense. 

The AAP has highlighted the dangers of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. Many children have suffered from heat stroke inside vehicles. The temperature inside the vehicle can rise quickly.

Since children’s bodies heat up faster than adults, it can cause severe brain injury or even death. They may also set the vehicle in motion or get kidnapped or trapped in the vehicle. 

Choosing a Child Car Seat in Pennsylvania

When choosing a car seat in Pennsylvania, you can refer to the NHTSA recommendations. Children below 2 years of age should ride in an infant rear-facing seat. For toddlers and young children, a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether is the best car seat to use in  Pennsylvania.

Once children outgrow the forward-facing seat, they should travel in a booster seat. You can choose either a backless or a high-back booster seat. A versatile all-in-one seat may be the best booster seat to use in Pennsylvania. 

Whichever seat you choose, it must comply with the child seat requirements in Pennsylvania. 

Car Seat Installation Help in Pennsylvania

Child passenger safety seats in Pennsylvania have to be installed according to the vehicle and car seat manual. It can be a complicated task.

There are fitting stations at different places with certified child passenger safety (CPS) technicians.

You should get the car seat installed with their help. Even if you have installed it, you should get it inspected. Some of the stations are:

Pennsylvania Car Seat Safety Resources

FAQ

How long should a child ride in a rear-facing car seat in Pennsylvania?

Under the law, a child should ride in a rear-facing car seat till the age of 2 years or till they outgrow its prescribed limits.

Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat in Pennsylvania?

Yes, you can put a rear-facing seat in the front seat. The law does not state a preference for the backseat. However, the passenger-side airbag must be deactivated.

Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the middle rear seat in Pennsylvania?

Yes, you can put a rear-facing car seat in the middle seat if your vehicle has lower anchors for the middle seat that can hold the car seat tightly. 

When can a baby face forward in a car seat in Pennsylvania?

A baby can face forward in a car seat once they turn 2 years old. They can also face forward once they outgrow their rear-facing seat.

How old for a booster seat in Pennsylvania? 

A child older than 4 years but less than 8 years old can ride in a booster seat if they have outgrown their forward-facing seat. 

When to use a backless booster seat in Pennsylvania? 

You can use a backless booster seat only if your vehicle seat has a head rest and the child’s ears are not higher than the seat back. 

When can a child sit in the front seat in Pennsylvania?

There is nothing specific in the law. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recommends that children sit in the backseat till they are 13 years old. 

When can a child sit in the front seat with a booster in Pennsylvania?

Children in a booster seat should ideally ride in the back seat. But they can sit in the front seat with a booster while wearing the seat belt. 

When can a child stop using a booster seat in Pennsylvania?

A child can stop using a booster seat once they turn 8 years old. But they should use a booster till they are big enough for the seat belt. 

When to switch from 5 point harness to a seat belt in Pennsylvania?

A child older than 4 years but less than 8 years can switch to a seat belt in a belt-positioning booster seat once they outgrow the 5-point harness. 

When can a child use a regular seat belt in Pennsylvania?

A child can use a regular seat belt in Pennsylvania once they turn 8 years old. The seat belt must fit them properly across the lap and shoulders. 

Do you need a car seat in a taxi in Pennsylvania?

Yes, taxis are required to have a car seat. The driver is responsible for ensuring that the child is properly secured in an appropriate car seat. 

Do you need a car seat in a Uber in Pennsylvania?

The law is unclear on this issue. But the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation states that ride-hailing services also have to comply with car seat laws. 

Do you need a car seat in a Lyft in Pennsylvania? 

The law is not clear. But as per the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, ride-hailing services like Lyft are required to have appropriate car seats.

Similar Posts