Pennsylvania Car Seat Laws (2022) -Regulations to Drive Your Child Safely

If you’re trying to find the Pennsylvania car seat laws 2022, here is the right place.

According to Pennsylvania State Law, children under 8 years of age must travel in an appropriate booster seat or child restraint device based on the child’s age.

Moving on to the next parts, you’ll find age is the only requirement mentioned in the car seat regulations in PA.

If you want to know the PA car seat laws regarding maximum height and weight, it’s the best practice to follow the guidelines of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA short) as well.

Here in this guide for PA car seat laws, we try to provide as many details as possible to explain the Pennsylvania car seat laws on booster seat age and height requirements, rear-facing and forward-facing rules, and when a child can sit in the front seat in Pennsylvania

Overview of Car Seat Laws in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Law Legislature in Sec § 4581 (a) reads: “(1) 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). (1.1) Any person [...] who transports a child four years of age or older but under eight years of age [...] shall fasten such child securely in a fastened safety seat belt system and in an appropriately fitting child booster seat, as provided in subsection (d)."

Pennsylvania State Regulations

The child seat laws go into three car seat stages – rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster. So we also talk about Pennsylvania car seat laws in these three categories.

Can’t wait to know the PA booster seat laws? Just click the booster field below.

Rear-Facing

Pennsylvania Rear-facing Car Seat Laws

Forward-Facing

Pennsylvania Forward facing Car Seat Rules

Booster

Pennsylvania Booster Seat Laws

Pennsylvania Car Seat Laws Rear-Facing

1st Car Seat Stage - Rear Facing

PA car seat law rear-facing is not mentioned in law information of 2002 Act 229.

The rules only require a child under four years old to ride with an appropriate child restraint system.

However, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation adds an explained rule in Chapter 5: Laws And Related Issues of the online driver’s manual. 

Children younger than age 2 must be secured in a rear-facing car seat until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits of the car seat as designated by the car seat manufacturer.

PA Department of Transportation

You can also find this rule in the traffic safety & driver topics documents from PA DOT about child passenger safety if you’re traveling in PA.

Pro Tips:

  • Never install a rear-facing car seat in the front seat if an airbag is active.

Still, according to the rule in Pennsylvania DOT suggestions, the back seat is safer for infants and toddlers.

Laws Allowed

Rear-Facing: <2 Years Old

Best Practise

Rear-Facing: 2 Years or Older

What car seats are good for rear-facing riding in Pennsylvania? Check our full list.

BEST REAR-FACING CAR SEAT

RF: 4-50 lbs/ 49″

Extended RF

Graco Extend2Fit

$234.99

RF: 4-30 lbs/ 30″

Best for Preemie

Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat
Chicco KeyFit 30

$199.99

RF: 4-35 lbs/ 32″

Best for Travel

Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller
Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller

$550

Pennsylvania Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

The PA laws do not mention any age, weight, and height requirements on forward-facing car seats.

The rules in section § 4581. subsection (a) Part (1)  (i) only require a child who is under 4 years old to travel in a child passenger restraint system.

It’s best to keep your child rear-facing and forward-facing for as long as possible until your child exceeds the height and weight limit.

Most forward-facing car seats come with a 65-pound weight limit and 49-inch height limit. That typically happens at age 5-7 years.

Rules Allowed

Forward-Facing: 4 Years Old

Best Practise

Forward-Facing: Five Years or Older

What car seats are good for forward-facing riding in Pennsylvania? Check our full list.

BEST FRONT-FACING CAR SEAT

FF: 22-65 lbs/ 49″

Graco Extend2Fit

$234.99

FF: 22-65 lbs/ 49″

Graco SlimFit LX 3-in-1 Car Seat
Graco SlimFit

$219.99

FF: 22-65 lbs/ 49″

KidsEmbrace Spider Man Car Seat - 2-in-1 Harness Booster
KidsEmbrace Spiderman

$199.99

PA Booster Seat Laws

The regulations in section § 4581. subsection (a) Part (1.1) says that children who are 4 years of age or older and under 8 years old should travel in a booster seat.

The PA law also requires the booster seat to be secured properly in the safety seat belt system.

The seat belt system generally includes a lap belt and a shoulder belt, which are required by the federal government for optimal protection.

When can a child be out of a booster seat in PA?

The child should be at least 8 years old to get out of a booster seat in Pennsylvania. You can move to the seat belt laws part for detailed rules.

Age for Booster Seat in PA

PA booster seat laws do not mention the maximum weight and height requirements.

Age seems to be the only rule to decide when your child should ride in a booster – at least 4 years old

Plus, the regulations also indicate that you should follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions as well.

Height and Weight for Booster Seat in PA

Based on our experience of reviewing 30+ car seats, most booster seats have a minimum weight limit of 40 pounds. The maximum weight limit may differ based on different brands, commonly ranging between 100-120 pounds.

57-inch is the most common seen height limit for a booster seat. Few backless boosters and backless booster mode in all-in-one car seats are designed with a higher height limit – up to 63-inches.

What about the backless booster seat requirements in PA?

It should be the same as the PA booster seat laws. 4-year-old is the minimum age requirement to ride in a backless booster in Pennsylvania. 

No maximum height and weight requirements, but parents should use the booster seats as per the manufacturer’s operating instructions.

What booster seats are suitable for traveling with big kids in Pennsylvania? Check our full list.

Booster Seat Weight

No booster seat weight requirements are mentioned in the Pennsylvania laws.

Booster Seat Height

No booster seat height requirements are mentioned in the Pennsylvania laws.

BEST BOOSTER SEAT

Booster: 40-100 lbs/ 57″

Graco TurboBooster

$29.99

Booster: 40-100 lbs/ 57″

Chicco GoFit Plus Backless Booster
Chicco GoFit Plus

$59.99

Booster: 40-100 lbs/ 57″

Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 Harness Booster Seat
Graco Atlas Harness Booster

$139.99

Child Seat Belt Laws in Pennsylvania

According to the regulations in section § 4581. subsection (a) Part (1.1) and (2) (B), children 8 years of age or older but under 18 years of age should be restrained in a safety seat belt.

The law asks the minimum age requirement for a child getting out of a booster. But it’s not the safest practice.

As a good parent, you may want to provide the best protection for your littles. It’s a good habit to check the rules from NHTSA along with the local laws.

The child safety experts suggest sticking with a booster seat before the last car seat stage as long as your child is within the booster weight and height limits.

Rules Allowed

Seat Belt: 8 Years Old

Best Practise

Seat Belt: 8 Years or Older

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Pennsylvania

The regulation in section § 4581. subsection (b) talks about the penalties of offense for the laws.

Violators who fail to provide an appropriate car seat for children under 4 years of age will be fined $75.

Violators who fail to properly secure children 8 years of age or older but under 18 years old in seat belts will be fined $10.

Pennsylvania Car Seat Laws Apply for

The drivers should take responsibility for assuring the child’s safety in the car.

Exceptions

According to the rules and regulations in section § 4581. subsection (a), exemptions are allowed if the child restraint system or booster seat is impractical for physical reasons like medical reasons or the size of the child.

Pennsylvania Front Seat Laws

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

PA car seat laws do not say any age, weight, or height requirements about how old to sit in the front seat PA.

The only front seat requirement in PA, according to the law, is that a rear-facing seat is not to be used in the front seat if the airbag is present.

Based on the implements from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, you’ll find that children can even ride in the front seat when they’re under 4 years old.

Within the context of regulations from PA DOT, the minimum age to sit in front seat in Pennsylvania is 2 years old.

But the front seat is not as safe as the back seat for kids younger than 13 years old.

Children under the age of 4 must be buckled into a federally-approved child passenger restraint system (child safety seat), ..., no matter where they ride in the vehicle (front or back seat).

PA DOT

Children ages 4 and older, but under the age of 8 must be buckled into a federally approved child booster seat, ..., no matter where they ride in a vehicle (front or back seat).

PA DOT

Children ages 8 and older, but under age 18 must be buckled in a seat belt, no matter where they ride in the vehicle (front or back seat).

PA DOT

Laws Allowed

Front Seat: 2 Years or Older

Best Practise

Front Seat: After the 12th Birthday

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

A 10-year-old child is allowed to sit in the front seat in Pennsylvania.

However, it’s better to keep your child in back seat as long as possible for best safety practise. 

Rear seat is safer than front seat.

Taxi Car Seat Law in Pennsylvania

The laws do not mention taxicab as an exception.

It’s obvious that taxis are required to follow the Occupant Protection laws in Pennsylvania.

Car Seat Requirements in Pennsylvania Laws

Child passenger safety laws vary from state to state, so it’s important you are familiar with the laws in Pennsylvania.

Here are the car seat requirements concluded based on the legislature document and PA DOT rules.

You’ll find age is the only requirement mentioned in PA child car seat laws, with no maximum weight and height requirements.

Birth-2 Years

Must be properly restrained in an approved rear-facing car seat anywhere in the vehicle.

Birth-4 Years

Must be restrained in an appropriate child safety seat.

4-8 Years

Must be restrained in an appropriate booster seat.

8 Yrs or Older

Must be in a seat belt. 

Best Car Seats for Travel in Pennsylvania

Based on the PA child car seat laws, here are the best car seats that will ride your boys or girls safely without breaking the rules.

To help parents quickly find the best option based on your child’s current age, this list is made by age, which is the only car seat requirement in PA.

Birth - 2 Years

30-lb rear-facing maximum weight

Further Information

Best Car Seats for One Year Old

Birth - 4 Years

4-8 Years

If you want to know the local laws in other US states, check the below button.

All 50 US States Car Seat Laws

FAQs on Pennsylvania Car Seat Laws

What are the car seat laws in PA?

The rules in Pennsylvania Legislature Law Information require a child under 8 years to ride in an appropriate child restraint system.

While the PA DOT implements more details on car seat requirements for different ages.

When can a child sit facing forward in PA?

The child must be rear-facing until age 2, according to PA DOT.

That means, your boy or girl can sit facing forward on or after their second birthday.

The best practice: Children can remain rear-facing after age 2 until they reach the maximum height OR weight limits of the seat. They can keep using their safety seats after age 2 if not outgrow the car seats. 

What is the height and weight requirements for a booster seat in PA?

According to the PA car seat laws and rules of PA DOT, children under the age of 8 are required to be placed in a booster seat.

Children aged 8 may have a height of 57-inch or a weight of around 80 pounds. But these are not the height and weight requirements specified in PA booster seat laws.

When can a child sit without a booster seat in PA?

At the age of 8.

Pennsylvania car seat law states that children must ride in a safety seat or a booster seat under eight years old.

That means a boy or girl is legally allowed to get out of a booster seat on the eighth birthday.

What is the legal age to sit in the front seat in PA?

Based on the PA child seat laws and front seat regulations from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the legal age for a child to sit in the front seat is age 2.

However, it’s STRONGLY recommended to place your child in the front seat until the age of 13

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

Yes, a 10 year old child can sit in the front seat in Pennsylvania, legally from the PA front seat laws. But not the best safety practice.

It’s better to ride the 10-year-old in the back seat until they reach 13.

Does 7 years old need a car seat in PA?

Yes. According to the PA booster seat laws, children under eight years old should ride in a booster seat.

So, 7 years old kids still need a car seat in Pennsylvania.

Sources