What is Virginia law for child car seats?
According to Virginia State Law, children under 8 years of age should be secured in an appropriate child restraint device in accordance with the car seat manufacturer’s instructions.
That’s a brief introduction to Virginia car seat laws. Here in this guide for VA car seat laws, we try to provide as many details as possible to explain the Virginia 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 Virginia.
Virginia Car Seat Laws Overview
The child seat laws go into three car seat stages – rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster. So we also talk about VA car seat laws in these three categories.
Can’t wait to know the Virginia booster seat laws? Just click the booster field below.
Virginia Car Seat Laws: Rear-Facing
According to the new Virginia child safety seat laws effective July 1, 2019:
A child should ride in a rear-facing safety seat until the age of two or the child reaches the minimum weight limit for a forward-facing safety seat as prescribed by the manufacturer of the child safety seat.
According to the regulations, the child should stay in the rear-facing car seat until they reach the minimum weight or height limit for a forward-facing seat as stated by the car seat manufacturer.
Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat of a vehicle with an active passenger airbag.
The most commonly seen minimum weight limits for forward-facing child safety seats range between 20-25 pounds.
If so, it’s better to keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible until their second birthday.
RF: 4-35 lbs/ 32″
Graco SnugRide SnugLock
Virginia Car Seat Laws: Forward Facing
By Virginia law in section § 46.2-1095 A, children can be moved to a forward-facing car seat when they
- Are at least two years old, or
- Reach minimum weight limit for forward-facing car seats.
The forward-facing seat must feature a 5-point harness and be installed in the back seat.
It’s the best practice to stick to the 5-point harness as long as possible until the child reaches the upper weight or height limit of their forward-facing safety seat.
Most forward-facing car seats are designed with an upper weight limit of 65 pounds and an upper height limit of 49-inches. That typically happens at the age of 5-7 years.
FF: 22-65 lbs/ 49″
Virginia Booster Seat Laws
The Virginia car seat laws don’t mention booster age and weight requirements.
The rules on booster seats can be found on the implements from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle that talks about the four stages of car seats.
According to Virginia rules, any child under the age of 8 must ride in a child safety seat or booster seat, in the back seat, until he or she reaches 57 inches in height.
Once the child outgrows their forward-facing seat, they can be moved to a booster seat.
There is no weight or height requirement mentioned in VA laws when you can switch the harnessed forward-facing seat to a booster. You have to refer to the seat manual provided by the manufacturer.
Booster: 40-100 lbs/ 57″
Graco Atlas Harness Booster
Virginia Seat Belt Laws for Child
After a child outgrows their booster seats, they can be secured with a seat belt, just like an adult.
Again, in law, there are no weight, or height requirements for a child to use the vehicle seat belt.
But interpreting the rules in section § 46.2-1095 A and B: A child who is at least 8 years old but under 18 years old should be properly secured in an appropriate seat belt system.
It’s typically when the child is at least 4 feet 9 inches in height to get the shoulder belt to fit across the chest.
You can check if your child fits the seat belt well or not:
- The child’s knees bend over the edge of the vehicle seat cushion and feet should rest flat on the floor.
- The child is sitting with their back against the seat and not slouching.
- The shoulder belt rests across their chest midway between the shoulder and neck.
- The lap belt fits low and snug across the hips, touching the upper thighs.
Virginia Front Seat Laws
When can a child sit in the front seat in Virginia?
VA car seat law requires children younger than 8 years old to be restrained in a child safety seat in the back seat.
Virginia law also says you can’t put a rear-facing car seat in the front. If the car has no back seat or it is unavailable, make sure the airbags in the front seat are inactive.
The laws do not make it clear if a child at the age of 9 years, 10 years, or 11 years old can sit in the front. But the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle suggests following NHTSA’s tips: it’s best to keep children under 12 in the back seat.
Legally, it’s okay for a child at 9 years, 10 years or 11 years to sit in the front seat in Virginia.
Legal Age to Sit in the Front Seat
at least 8 years old
Recommended Age to Sit in the Front Seat
at least 12 years old
Penalty for Breaking Virginia Car Seat Laws
Violations of Oregon’s car seat laws are considered Class D traffic infractions and violators will receive a fine minimum of $115.
Virginia Car Seat Laws Apply for
The drive is responsible for the child’s safety in the car seat. They should make sure the child be secured in a proper child restraint system.
The law does not apply to any person operating:
- Taxicabs, school buses, executive sedans, or limousines
- Emergency medical services agency vehicle, fire company vehicle, fire department vehicle, or law-enforcement agency vehicle while in the performance of his official duties
Taxi Car Seat Law in Virginia
Age, Weight, Height Requirements in Virginia Laws
Virginia Law requires that all children age 7 years and younger be properly secured in a child safety seat or booster seat. There is no height or weight requirement. Only the age for best in accordance with four stages of the car seat.
- Rear-facing (stage 1): under 2 years of age
- Forward-facing (stage 2): no specific age, weight, or height requirements for this car seat stage, supposedly after the second birthday
- Booster (stage 3): under 8 years old, better for a long time after the child exceeds the weight or height limit of their boosters.
- Seat belt (stage 4): after the booster seat stage, no specific age, weight, or height requirements in the laws.
Best Car Seats for Travel in Virginia
Based on the VA 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 their child’s current age, this list is made by age, which is the only car seat requirement in VA.
Birth - 2 Years
30-lb rear-facing maximum weight
35-lb rear-facing maximum weight
40-lb rear-facing maximum weight
50-lb rear-facing maximum weight
Birth - 4 Years
65-lb forward-facing maximum weight
49-inch forward-facing maximum height
100-lb booster maximum weight
120-lb booster maximum weight
57-in booster maximum height
63-in booster maximum height
All 50 US States Car Seat Laws
FAQs on Virginia Car Seat Laws
What is the booster seat law in Virginia?
Virginia Law on booster seats requires that all children under 8 years old be properly secured in a child safety seat or booster seat. There is no height or weight requirement.
What age can a child ride in the front seat in Virginia?
The Virginia laws on child safety in a car do not mention front seat rules.
However, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle suggests that a child under age 12 should ride properly restrained in the back seat.
How old does a child have to be to ride in the front seat in Virginia?
According to Virginia laws, your child can sit in the front seat after they are 8 years old, given, they are using a seat belt. Virginia law also says you can’t put a rear-facing car seat in the front.
If the child is over age 12, are there height/weight requirements for a child to sit in front?
There are no height/weight requirements for a child to sit in the front seat if they are 12 years or older.
But children are much safer seated and properly restrained in the back seat regardless of age or the presence of an airbag.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, putting a child in the back seat instead of the front seat reduces the risk of death by 27 percent. Given this, if a child is very small, he is safer if restrained in the back.
Does 7 years old need a car seat in VA?
According to the Virginia child safety seat laws, children under 8 years old should be properly restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat.
So 7 year old still need a car seat in Virginia.
Can a 9 year old sit in the front seat in Virginia?
According to Virginia laws and regulations from DMV, the back seat is the safest place to place a child under 13 years old.
Can a 10 year old sit in the front seat in Virginia?
It’s better to keep a child under 13 years old in the back seat, according to the rules from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.