An estimated 1.5 million children are injured each year due to the use of car seats that do not meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The state of Pennsylvania has passed a law that requires parents to properly install their child’s car seat, or face fines and even jail time.

Pennsylvania Car Seat Laws

Pennsylvania Car Seat Law

According to Pennsylvania Occupant Protection law,

any person […] who transports a child under four years of age anywhere in the motor vehicle, including the cargo area, shall fasten such child securely in a child passenger restraint system, as provided in subsection (d)”

Pennsylvania Car Seat laws

Types of restraint systems for infant and young kids in Pennsylvania

There are three types of restraints for kids in Pennsylvania.

  • Rear-facing car seats
  • Forward-facing car seats
  • Booster seats

Pennsylvania Infant/Toddler Car Seat Law

According to (Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S. 4581) of Pennsylvania Car Seat Law,

Children under 2 years of age shall be securely fastened in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system, to be used until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated by the manufacturer, as provided in subsection (d).

Pennsylvania Rear-facing Car Seat Law

If a child is less than 2 years old, they must be in a rear-facing car seat. The height and weight of the child should not be over the limit of the car seat.

Pennsylvania Forward-facing Car Seat Law

After your toddler reaches the age of two, you may transition him/her to a forward-facing restraint if he/she meets or exceeds the height and weight requirements set by the manufacturer of the rear-facing seat.

Pennsylvania booster seat law for young kids

According to Pennsylvania regulations, a booster seat is required when your child is between the ages of 4 and 8 years old.

Types of booster seats in Pennsylvania:

  • High-back booster seats – If your car’s seat back is lower than your child’s ears, you have to use a high-back booster seat to protect their head and neck.
  • Backless booster seats – A backless booster seat may be used if your vehicle’s seat back is higher than your child’s ears.

Law on leaving a child in a car in Pennsylvania

According to the law, A person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle may not permit a child under six years of age to remain unattended in the vehicle when the motor vehicle is out of the person’s sight and under circumstances which endanger the health, safety or welfare of the child.

Taxi Car Seat Law in Pennsylvania

Taxis in Pennsylvania are required to follow the state’s Occupant Protection Regulations. Some Uber’s and taxis have seats that they can provide if you let them know ahead of time. If not, then it is up to the parent to bring one with them.

Pennsylvania car seat expiration law

Every car seat has an expiration date. The typical lifespan of a vehicle seat is six years (not from the date of sale or date of first use). However, check with the car seat manufacturer to find out what the expiration date for your specific seat is. Manufacturer contact information may be found on the car seat or the owner’s handbook. When it comes time to dispose of old car seats, we typically advise parents to cut the fabric and harness away and wrap it in a dark garbage bag before discarding them.

Pennsylvania car seat replacement law after Accident

There is no legal requirement for the replacement of car seats following a severe or moderate accident. But NHTSA recommends that:

“Car seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers. Car seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash.”

Legal Fees For Pennsylvania Car Seat Laws

If drivers don’t follow the rules specified above, they may be fined up to $75.

Car Seat Law Exemptions in Pennsylvania

There are certain allowances. A kid under the age of 13 can sit in the front seat if the car does not have a back seat and all available back seats are occupied by children in approved child safety seats. For children with medical, physical, or mental challenges that make using child restraints impossible, doctors’ statements are required. The obligation is not applicable to vehicles manufactured before July 1, 1966.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pennsylvania Car Seat Laws

When Can My Child Sit in the Front Seat in Pennsylvania?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, children should not ride in the front seat of a vehicle until they are age 13. When transporting any children in the vehicle, the rear area is always preferable.

What are the height and weight requirements for a booster seat in Pennsylvania?

Kids who are between four and eight years old may use a booster seat. They must be 40 pounds before they can use the booster seat, regardless of their age. Kids who are four years old but under the weight limit of 40 pounds should be kept in a five-point harness instead. 

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

Once your child is more than 80 pounds or taller than 4’ 9”, he/she may use the car safety belt without having to have a booster seat. The child should stay in the booster until he/she fits safely using the vehicle safety belt.

Can a 10 year old sit in the front seat in Pennsylvania?

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recommends that children under the age of 13 sit in the back seat rather than the front seat, however placing any kid in the back is always preferable.

Can My Child Ride in the Front Seat of a Pickup Truck in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania law says that children can sit in the front seat of pickup trucks if there is no backseat or all the other seats are used by older children. But it is always safer for your child to sit in one of the back seats.

You can put the child in the front of the car if there are no seats. But you should always use a safety seat for your child based on their age, weight, and height. Choose the middle seat because it is safest. Make sure that any airbags are turned off while your child is in this area of the vehicle.

Is it Illegal to Smoke in a Car with a Child in Pennsylvania?

It is not illegal to smoke in a car with a child, but it is extremely harmful to children. Children who breathe in secondhand smoke from smoking may be harmed.

Car Seat Inspections Help in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania State Police provides free car seat installations and checks in most cases. To schedule an appointment, contact your local barracks. If you don’t live near a barracks, go to to find a certified child passenger safety expert in your region.

The most essential installation advice is that the car seat (at the base) should not move more than 1 inch.

Child passenger safety-related videos Pennsylvania

Rear-facing Car Seats for Babies: Safety Tips

Rear-facing vs. Forward-facing explained like you’ve never seen before!

How to Use a Booster Seat

Additional resources about car seat safety in Pennsylvania

Here are some websites that will help you with the inspection of your car seat. You can also find more information there.

USA Child Passenger Safety Laws by State


Click on your state on the map below to see your state’s car seat law

Share this, Sharing is caring :)

Similar Posts