Car Seat Laws in Hawaii (2022)- Age, Weight, Height Requirements

According to the Hawaii State Law, children under 8 years old must ride in a federally approved child passenger restraint.

What is the Car Seat Law in Hawaii?

Hawaii Legislature Law in section §291-11.5 (a) on child passenger restraints reads: “No person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway in the State shall transport a child under eight years of age except under the following circumstances: (1) If the child is under four years of age, the person operating the motor vehicle shall ensure that the child is properly restrained in a child passenger restraint system. (2) If the child is four years of age or older but less than eight years of age, the person operating the motor vehicle shall ensure that the child is properly restrained in a child safety seat or booster.”

Hawaii State Regulations

Hawaii Car Seat Laws Rear-Facing

The Hawaii law does not say the requirements on a rear-facing car seat, it just states that a child under 4 years of age should be secured in a child passenger restraint system in the law section §291-11.5 (a) (1).

However, the Hawaii Department of Transportation Highway recommends following the American Academy of Pediatrics rules that use a rear-facing car seat until the child is 2 years old.

Even after 2 years of age, the child should keep using the rear-facing car seat as long as they reach the highest weight or height promised by the car seat manufacturer.

Some convertible and all-in-one car seats feature higher height and weight limits.

For example, Graco Extend2Fit (convertible) and Diono Radian 3R (all-in-one) are designed with a 50-pound weight limit for rear-facing, while the Chicco NextFit Zip was manufactured with a 43-inch rear-facing height limit.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation Highway also suggest a few safety tips:

  • Never put a rear-facing seat in the front seat when the airbags are active in the front passenger seat.

Hawaii Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

The same rule applies to the forward-facing car seat. The Hawaii law mentions this neither.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation Highway does not state the regulations on forward-facing either.

Interpreting the law and the guidelines from NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administrative), a child should be secured in a forward-facing car seat after they are 2 years old or until they reach the safety limit of rear-facing seats.

Parents or guardians should stick to the forward-facing car seats until the child outgrows the weight or height limit. That typically happens around 5-7 years old.

What is The Law for Booster Seats in Hawaii?

The Hawaii law §291-11.5 (a) (2) says:

“If the child is four years of age or older but less than eight years of age, the person operating the motor vehicle shall ensure that the child is properly restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards at the time of its manufacture.”

The regulation makes it clear that a child can use a booster seat on the fourth birthday.

However, it’s the safest practice for a parent to secure a child.

As a good parent, you should stick to the forward-facing car seat until your child outgrows this type of car seat around age 5-7.

Seat Belt Laws for Child in Hawaii

According to the Hawaii law §291-11.5 (a) (3), a child is required to use a seat belt when they are:

  • At least 4 years old and less than 8 years of age
  • Over four feet and nine inches in height; or
  • Over forty pounds and sit in the back seat

It’s best to secure your child with a lap-shoulder safety belt system. If your vehicle does not have should strap, lap-only belts are acceptable. But you should place the child in the back seat anyway.

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Hawaii

According to §291-11.5 (e) (2), violators who fail to follow the Hawaii law are required to attend a 4-hour class and may be assessed a fine of $100-$500 depending upon the number of offenses, plus an additional fee of $70.

Hawaii Car Seat Laws Apply for

The drivers are responsible for the child’s safety in a motor vehicle.

The exceptions are listed in section §291-11.5 (b). The rules do not apply to commercial vehicles that are used for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit, like the taxicab.

Plus, the regulations do not work if the number of passengers exceeds the number of seat belts available in the car or the number of seat belts installed in the car.

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

In Hawaii State Legislature section §291-11.5 (a) (3) (B), the law only mentions that if a child under 8 years of age uses a lap-only seat belt for security, the child should sit in the back seat.

No other rules in the law tell when can a child sit in the front seat in Hawaii.

But the Department of Transportation Highway suggests buckling a child in the back seat for as long as possible.

Child safety experts recommend placing your child in the back seat until they are 13 years old.

Taxi Car Seat Law in Hawaii

Have you noticed? The taxicab is talked about above in the law exceptions. Yes, Hawaii is one of those states where taxis are exempt from child passenger laws.

The law does not mention the taxicab but just says that if the motor vehicles are operated for commercial purposes, they should be exempt from the child restraint law.

At this point, Uber and other ride-sharing services may be probably exceptions as well.

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in Hawaii Law

According to the Hawaii law, the car seat age, weight, and height requirements are listed below:

Under 4 years of age

Use a child restraint system

Between 4 to 8 years old

Use a child restraint system or a booster seat

Over 4 feet 9 inches

Wear a seat belt

Best Car Seats to Work with Hawaii Laws

Rear-Facing Car Seat for Infants and Small Toddlers

Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller

Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller Combo

More than this Doona car seat and stroller combo, there are a few excellent options available for riding infants in rear-facing. But not all will perform as well as it to allow 1-year-old infants to face the back for this long time, Chicco KeyFit 30 for example, features a low 30-lb weight limit that might not go through the first year. 

Forward-Facing for Big Toddlers and Preschoolers

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit

This convertible car seat is great enough to meet the parent’s need to ride their kids in the rear- and front-facing for a longer time. It features 50-lb rear-facing weight limit to be one of the best rear-facing car seats for 2 years old.

When using it facing front, the 65-lb weight limit makes it go through the preschool ages – 3 years old, 4 years old, and 5 years old.

Booster Seats for Big Kids

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

$24.99*

The Graco TurboBooster is the most popular and best budget car seat to meet the State Law to ride older children, six or seven years old, or even bigger. While six years of age is relatively younger than other states’ eight years of age requirement, it’s sooner for Alabama children to get rid of a car seat.

Sources

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