Connecticut Car Seat Laws (2022) – Age and Weight Requirements

According to Connecticut State Law, children under eight years old or sixty pounds should ride in a size-appropriate restraint system in compliance with the United States Department of Transportation Standards and according to the specifications listed by the safety seat manufacturers.

Connecticut is one of the eight states to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations on optimal child seat safety. The new Connecticut car seat laws took effect on October 1st, 2017, being stricter by increasing the age and weight thresholds for car seats and generally requiring that car seats be equipped with five-point harnesses. 

What are the car seat laws in Connecticut?

Connecticut Law Legislature in Sec. 14-100a subsection (d) reads: "(1) (C) Any person who transports a child under eight years of age, [..]or weighing less than sixty pounds, [...] shall provide and require the child to ride rear-facing or forward-facing in a child restraint system equipped with a five-point harness or a booster seat secured by a seat safety belt. (2) Any person who transports a child eight years of age or older and weighing sixty or more pounds in a motor vehicle on the highways of this state shall either provide and require the child to use an approved child restraint system or require the child to use a seat safety belt."

Connecticut State Regulations

Connecticut Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

According to the rules in Sec. 14-100a (1) (A), infants and toddlers under 2 years of age and less than 30 lbs. should ride in a rear-facing car seat.

The rear-facing car seat must come with a 5-point harness for optimal protection for the littles.

Connecticut car seat laws on rear-facing emphasize the use of the five-point harness, which is seldom referred to in state law, but the manufacturers will talk about it in the manual guide.

The car seat should meet or exceed the standards and regulations adopted by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Safety tips: 

  • Never put a rear-facing car seat in the forward-facing position or in front of an active airbag.
  • Ensure that the harness is snug and that the harness clip is placed at the center of the chest and at the level of the child’s armpits.
  • The seat must be tightly secured using the vehicle lap belt or anchored using the LATCH System.
  • You’ll need those car seats to allow for longer rear-facing time up to 2 years old.

Connecticut Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

The rules in Sec. 14-100a (1) (B) says that children must be secured in a rear-facing or forward-facing car seat in the following conditions:

  • 2 years or older but less than 5 years of age, or
  • weighing 30 pounds or more but less than 40 pounds

The law requires the car seat to be equipped with a 5-point harness that is still the best for protection.

Parents should stick with the seats in the last or current stage for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.

Age is the leading factor to decide which stage you should ride your child. For example, if your kid weighs 33 pounds but he or she is only 18 months old. At this time, they should stick to the rear-facing car seats.

Child Booster Seat Laws in Connecticut

The regulations in Sec. 14-100a (1) (C) indicate that children must travel in a booster seat if their age or weight falls into below situates:

  • 5 years or older but under 8 years of age, or
  • 40 pounds or more but less than 60 pounds

The rule also makes it clear that the booster seat needs to be secured with a safety belt.

As a reliable parent, you should not move your child to a booster in a rush.

You’d better keep them in the forward-facing car seat for as long as they reach the maximum weight or height allowed by the manufacturer.

Seat Belt Laws for Connecticut

The rules in Sec. 14-100a (2) say that children are 8 years of age or older and at least 60 lbs. or more should use a seat belt or any of the above-listed restraints.

Safety tips:

  • When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use Lap and Shoulder Seat Belts for optimal protection.
  • All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.
  • The lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest.

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Connecticut

The fine for violating the Connecticut car seat law is up to $199.00.

Plus, you’ll need to attend a child car seat safety course offered by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Otherwise, the commissioner may have the right to suspend your motor vehicle license when you fail to complete the course.

“Existing law, unchanged by the act, subjects individuals who violate the car seat requirements to penalties. A first violation is an infraction and a second violation is punishable by a fine of up to $199. Each subsequent violation is a class A misdemeanor.

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) commissioner must require anyone who commits a first or second violation to attend a DMV-approved child car seat safety course. If a violator fails to attend or successfully complete the course, the commissioner, after providing notice and an opportunity for a hearing, may suspend his or her driver’s license for up to two months.”

Connecticut Car Seat Laws Apply for

The driver is responsible for assuring that each child is properly restrained pursuant to Connecticut State Law, no matter whether you are a resident or traveler.

Exceptions

The provisions shall not apply to a bus having a tonnage rating of one ton or more.

Connecticut State Laws Update

The car seat laws keep updated for optimal protection for your child. This version took effect on October 1st, 2017, with stricter requirements on age and weight. You can check the differences between the new version and the prior version.

The new law specifies more details of each stage subdivision in age and weight.

New Law ( Oct. 1, 2017)

Prior Law

When can a child legally sit in the front seat in Connecticut?

Connecticut law doesn’t give a specific age when your child can sit in the front seat.

Based on the regulations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children after 13 years of age can use car seat belts. A car seat belt is safe when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest. After that, your child is ready to sit in the front seat.

Taxi Car Seat Law in Connecticut

Connecticut does not clarify its state law on the taxi. So it’s better for parents to take a portable car seat for riding their child in a taxi if they’re living or planning to travel in Connecticut.

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in Connecticut Car Seat Laws

Connecticut General Assembly office summarizes the age and weight requirements with a table as below. It divides into four categories/stages: 

Stage 1: under 2 years old, and under 30 lbs, ride in a rear-facing seat with a five-point harness
Stage 2: 2 to 4 years of age, and between 30 to 39 lbs, use a front-facing or rear-facing seat with a five-point harness
Stage 3: 5 to 7 years of age, and 40 to 59 lbs, stay in a booster seat with a seat belt or any of the above-listed restraints
Stage 4: 8 years of age or older, and 60 or more lbs,  seat belt, or any of the above-listed restraints

Car Seat Laws Age and Weight Charts

Best Car Seats to Work with Connecticut Laws

Connecticut car seat laws are strict on age, weight, and height requirements, especially on the rear-facing position. It requires toddlers below two years old and 30 pounds to ride facing the back. Fortunately, there are a few convertible car seats supporting a higher rear-facing weight or height limit for 2 years old toddlers

Rear-Facing Car Seat for 2 Years Old Toddlers

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit

This convertible car seat is great enough to meet the Connecticut 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.

Forward-Facing Car Seat

Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat

Chicco NextFit Zip

$299.99*

Chicco NextFit Zip features a very high height limit to allow your kids to face the rear for up to 2 years old. It’s also a great convertible car seat for older children, just like the Graco Extend2Fit.

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 Connecticut State Law to ride older children, seven years old, or even bigger. Even the legal age to get out of a car seat is 7 years, but it’s recommended to keep your kid in a booster seat as long as possible for safety’s sake.

Sources

  1. Connecticut Law Legislature on Child Restraints System.
  2. Connecticut Department of Public Health on child passenger safety.

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