Illinois Car Seat Laws (2022) – Rules What Parents Need to Know

As of January 1, 2019, the Child Passenger Protection Act is amended to include the requirement for children under age 2 years to be properly secured in a rear-facing child restraint system unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches tall.

What is the Car Seat Law in Illinois?

Illinois Legislature Rules 625 ILCS 25 Sec. 4 on Child Passenger Protection Act says: “When any person is transporting a child in this State under the age of 8 years in a non-commercial motor vehicle [...] of this State, such person shall be responsible for providing for the protection of such child by properly securing him or her in an appropriate child restraint system. The parent or legal guardian of a child under the age of 8 years shall provide a child restraint system to any person who transports his or her child.”

Illinois State Regulations

Illinois Car Seat Laws Rear-Facing

According to Illinois law 625 ILCS 25 Sec. 4, children are required to ride in a rear-facing seat if they are

  • Under the age of 2
  • Shorter than 40-inch
  • Less than 40 pounds

The rules on rear-facing car seats were implemented to the law and effective since January 1, 2019.

It’s best to keep the child in a rear-facing safety seat for as long as possible until they reach the highest weight or limit set by the car seat manufacturer.

Infant-only car seats can’t meet these requirements. You may need convertible or all-in-one car seats that have higher rear-facing height and weight limits.

The law provides the minimum requirements, the Illinois Department of Social of Service provides a few helpful safety tips:

  • Never install a rear-facing safety seat in front of an active airbag.
  • Follow the recline indicator for rear-facing installation.
  • The child’s head may need at least 1 inch or more below the top of the safety seat when rear-facing.
  • Use the harness straps/slots at or below shoulder level when rear-facing.
  • Harness straps must be snug on the child; the harness clip should be at armpit level.

Illinois Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

There are no rules mentioned on when a baby can face forward in Illinois law.

It just requires children under 8 years of age to ride in an appropriate child restraint system.

Luckily, the Illinois Secretary of State makes it clear in the rules on Child Passenger Safety Requirements that children aged between 2-8 can use a rear-facing, forward-facing, or booster based on the child’s weight and height.

The best practice is to use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for small toddlers until the child outgrows the height or weight limit recommended by the manufacturer.

  • Use the internal harness system until the upper height or weight limit is reached.
  • Use harness straps/slots at or above shoulder level when forward-facing.
  • Harness straps must be snug on the child; the harness clip should be at armpit level.
  • The top of the child’s ears should not be above the top of the car seat when forward-facing.

What is The Law for Booster Seats in Illinois?

The Illinois law does not state specifically the booster seat requirements on age, weight, and height. The law just says:

Children under the age of 8 years should be secured in an appropriate child restraint system. The child restraint system can be a booster seat.

Interpreting the law with the rules from NHTSA, your child can use a booster once they reach the highest weight or height limit of their forward-facing car seats.

That typically happens around the age of 5-7 years, 65 pounds in weight and 49 inches in height.

Booster seats must be used with the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt, never just a lap belt.

The lap belt should lie low across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should rest snugly across the shoulder and chest, not across the neck or face.

The top of the child’s ears should not be above the top of the back of a booster seat with a back.

If using a backless booster seat, the vehicle’s head restraint must be positioned properly.

Secure the booster seat with the vehicle’s seat belt when not in use.

Seat Belt Laws for Child in Illinois

By Illinois regulation (625 ILCS 25/4b) Sec. 4b. , children between 8 to 19 years of age should travel in a properly adjusted and fastened seat safety belt or an age- or size-appropriate child restraint system.

The best is to keep using a booster seat for as long as possible until the child outgrows the booster.

Check the status when your child sits without a booster.

  • The vehicle lap belt must lie low across the upper thighs, not the stomach.
  • The shoulder belt should rest snugly across the shoulder and chest, not across the neck or face.
  • The child’s back and hips should be against the back of the vehicle seat, without slouching.
  • Knees should bend easily over the front edge of the vehicle seat with the feet flat on the floor.

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Illinois

Violating the car seat law in Illinois will be punishable by a fine between $75 and $200.

Illinois Car Seat Laws Apply for

The parent or legal guardian of the child is responsible for making sure that the child is properly secured in a motor vehicle.

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

There are no rules on the front seat in Illinois law.

But according to the Illinois Department of Social Services, it’s better to keep children in the rear seat before the age of 13.

After the age of 13, when it’s secure to travel in a car seat belt, your child can sit in the front seat.

Experts tell us that back seats are the safer part of the car and you should keep your children in the back seat for as long as possible.

Taxi Car Seat Law in Illinois

Illinois law is a little bit vague about car seat laws and taxis. The rule in 625 ILCS 25 Sec. 4 says:

“The parent or legal guardian of a child under the age of 8 years shall provide a child restraint system to any person who transports his or her child.”

Supposed the taxi drivers are not responsible for the child passenger’s safety. Instead, they should allow the parent or guardian to have enough time to install the car seats. 

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in Illinois Law

The Illinois car seat rules specify a few details on the age, weight, and height requirements.

Rear-facing (stage 1): under the age of 2 years, less than 40 pounds or 40 inches

Forward-facing (stage 2): at least 2 years old, 40 pounds or more, 40 inches or taller

Booster (stage 3): under 8 years of age

Seat belt (stage 4): 8 years or older but under the age of 19.

Best Car Seats to Work with Illinois 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.

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