Child Passenger Safety Laws

Illinois Child Passenger Safety Seat Laws

Every state in the US has different laws regarding child safety in vehicles. Most require you to use some sort of a child restraint system such as special seats with protective seat belts, and the position and features of such seats is often closely regulated by various laws.

Information below contains pertinent information from Illinois child passenger safety laws.

Child safety seats and child seat belt laws in Illinois:

  1. All children under 8 years old must ride in appropriate child restraint system depending on age and height and weight: safety seats, harness vests, or booster seats.
  2. Children from 8 to 16 must always be fastened with seat belts, even in back seats.

Child restraint system should be appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height. As a general rule, children under 2 years are typically seated in rear-facing child safety seats, with children 2 to 7 years of age in forward-facing child safety seats.

It is strongly recommended to never put a child in a safety seat in front of air bags. In a collision deploying the air bag can cause further injuries, and child safety seats should always be secured in back seats.

Illinois child safety belt laws do not specify the age or height where children should be secured in booster seats. It’s recommended to always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Illinois Department of Transportation gives the following guidelines and recommendations for child restraint systems:

Rear facing safety seats (from birth to age 2+):

  • Safest way to travel
  • Always in the back seat and never in front of an active air bag
  • Recommended until child has outgrown height or weight limit on seat
  • Harness straps should come from at or below the shoulder and be snug enough that excess material cannot be pinched
  • Seats that rear face: Rear Facing Only (carrier and base), Convertible (rear facing to forward facing, 3-in-1 (rear facing to forward facing to booster)

Forward facing safety seats (age 2 to 7):

  • Always in the back seat (if possible)
  • Should be used with tether to prevent additional forward movement
  • Harness straps should come from at or above the shoulder and be snug enough that excess material cannot be pinched
  • Recommended until child has outgrown height or weight limit on seat
  • Seats that forward face: Convertible (rear facing to forward facing, 3-in-1 (rear facing to forward facing to booster)

Booster seats (age 4 to 12):

  • Always in the back seat (if possible)
  • Should only be used with a lap and shoulder belt
  • Shoulder portion should cross chest, not behind the back or under the arm
  • Lap portion should sit low on hips, not the stomach
  • Recommended until child has outgrown height or weight limit AND can pass the 5-step test.
  • Types of booster seats: 3-in-1 (rear facing to forward facing to booster), backless booster, high back booster

Seat belts (age 8+):

  • Ride in the back seat until at least age 13
  • Use seating position with lap and shoulder belt and head protection
  • Shoulder portion should cross chest, not behind the back or under the arm
  • Lap portion should sit low on hips, not the stomach

Other regulations:

  • All child safety seats must be federally approved.
  • Driver is liable for penalties for all improperly restrained passengers aged 8 to 16.
  • A child weighing more than 40 pounds may be transported in the back seat of a motor vehicle while wearing only a lap belt if the back seat of the motor vehicle is not equipped with a combination lap and shoulder belt.

See also: Illinois seat belt laws (for adults).

Illinois child passenger seat belt laws sources and references:

  1. Illinois Compiles Statutes, Vehicle Code, 625 ILCS 25: Child Passenger Protection Act
  2. CyberDriveIllinois – Child Passenger Safety Requirements
  3. BuckleUpIllinois – Child Passenger Safety

Penalties

Violating Child Passenger Protection Act results in a $75 fine. First time offenders can avoid conviction by installing an appropriate child restraint system and completing an instructional course on the installation of child restraint systems.

Each subsequent violation of Illinois child safety seat laws carries a $200 fine, and driver is not eligible for court supervision.

Drivers under 18 with Graduated License will receive a warning for their first offense. Second offense, or another moving violation within a 2-year period, will result in a suspended license.

Important: drivers are responsible for ensuring all passengers obey Illinois seat belt laws. Anyone found violating these laws is subject to a fine and court costs.

Child passenger safety laws are very important. Make sure your passengers are always properly restrained to avoid fines, but more importantly keep them safe.

This article about Illinois Child Passenger Safety Seat Laws was last updated in 2018. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!