The Illinois Car Seat Laws are designed so that every child is securely restrained while traveling in a car. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, every child traveling in a car under eight should be appropriately restrained using a car or booster seat. 

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, 584 people were killed in vehicle accidents and traffic incidents in Illinois during the first six months of 2022. Illinois’ Children and Family Research Center reported that accidents were the second highest cause of child deaths in 2018.

If you live in Illinois or plan to visit there soon, I have reviewed and simplified the laws so that you can travel with your children securely and without any worries. 

For better understanding, let’s divide these laws into four segments: Rear-facing car seat laws, forward-facing car seat laws, booster car seat laws, and seatbelt laws. Stay until the end so that you can read the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Illinois car seat laws. 

illinois car seat law

Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

The rear-facing car seat laws apply to all children from birth to age two. According to the Illinois Car Seat Law, height and weight requirements for the rear-facing car seat are that the child should be less than 40 pounds in weight and less than 40 inches tall. 

However, keeping them rear-facing as long as possible is best until the limits mentioned in the manufacturer’s guidelines for your specific car seat are reached. You should ensure the following things while putting your child in a car seat:

  • The shoulder straps should be at the level of the shoulders or below it.
  • The straps should not be twisted.
  • The chest clip should lie at the level of the armpits.
  • The child should be in the rear seat if a functioning airbag is in the front seat.
  • The car seat is buckled appropriately tight. It is tight enough if the car seat does not move more than 1 inch in the belt path. 

Forward-Facing Car Seat Laws

If your child is between 2 and 4 years of age, weighs more than 40 pounds, and is over 40 inches in height, they should ride forward-facing using a five-point harness system. They should continue being restrained this way until they reach the weight and height limits of that particular car seat recommended by the manufacturer. The use of a rope is also recommended. 

Booster Car Seat Laws

Booster car seats are recommended between the age of 4 and 12 years. Your child’s height should be less than 4 feet and 9 inches to use a booster seat. You can start using a booster seat when your child has exceeded the limits for the forward-facing car seat recommended by the manufacturer, but it must not be earlier than the age of 4 years. You must ensure the following when using a booster seat to restrain your child:

  • The level of the lap belt must be at the thighs. It should not be at the stomach level. 
  • The shoulder belt should be positioned across the shoulder and chest. It should not lie at the level of the face or neck. It should not be under the arm or behind the back. 
  • The shoulder belt guide should be either at the level of the shoulders or above it. 
  • The top of the children’s ears should not exceed the booster seat’s upper limit. 
  • Booster seats with a lap-only belt should not be used. 

Seatbelt Laws

Children should be restrained from using seat belts once they are over 13. However, the minimum age after which they can use seat belts is eight years. Your child is ready to use a seat belt if:

  • They have attained a height of greater than 4 feet and 9 inches.
  • They can keep their back against the car seat’s back without slouching.
  • They can bend their knees over the edge of the vehicle’s seat.
  • They can place their feet flat on the car floor.
  • The lap belt can be fastened at the level of the hips and thighs and not the stomach.
  • The shoulder belt is positioned at the level of the shoulders and chest and not the head and neck.

When Can A Child Sit Without A Booster Seat In Illinois? 

After outgrowing their car seats, children should continue to use a booster seat for several years. Children aged 8 to 12 should typically use a booster seat until they are tall enough to fit into a regular lap and shoulder belt restraint system. 

A child can sit without a booster seat as early as eight years after ensuring they meet the abovementioned criteria. I suggest that you keep using the booster seat until your child is 13 so that you do not compromise your child’s safety. 

When Can My Child Sit In The Front Seat Of The Car?

The Illinois car seat law recommends that no child should sit in the front seat of the car until they reach the age of 13. You must also ensure your child can sit without a car or booster seat before you place them in the front seat. 

Fines And Penalties For Disobeying The Car Seat Law

Children under the age of 16 are under the responsibility of the driver. In case of a Child Passenger Protection Act violation, the driver will be charged $75 for the first offense in Illinois. The driver is also eligible for court supervision if they provide the court with documented proof of a properly installed child restraint system and completion of an instructional course on installing that restraint system from a child safety seat technician. 

A further infraction is a minor offense punishable by a $200 fine and not subject to judicial supervision.

What Are Illinois Car Seat Laws For Pickup Trucks?

According to the law, children should never ride in the bed of a truck. The law prohibits this in all fifty states, including Illinois. All children must be secured in a child safety restraint system until at least the age of 8 years. 

Illinois Car Seat Requirements For Uber Or Taxi Trips

Unlike many other jurisdictions, those riding in an Uber or Taxi are not exempted from properly restraining children while traveling. According to the law, the parent or guardian must securely restrain the child. 

Sometimes Uber or Taxi drivers may offer a car seat for additional charges. It is, however, best to carry your car seat since sometimes a car seat might not be available in every Uber or Taxi. 

Illinois Law On Leaving A Child Unattended

It is illegal in Illinois to leave a kid aged six or younger unsupervised in a motor vehicle for longer than ten minutes.

According to the law, “unattended” is defined as a child not accompanied by a person at least 14 years old or if they’re out of sight of a person at least 14 years old.

Violating this law is a Class A misdemeanor, which can be punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. If someone violates the law a second time, it becomes a Class 3 felony, which could be punishable by 2-5 years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.

Illinois Car Seat Laws vs. Tennessee Car Seat Laws

Illinois and Tennessee are two nearby states. Yet the law has some differences you should consider if you visit.

Illinois Car Seat LawsTennessee Car Seat Laws
A child should ride rear-facing from birth up till one year of ageIt is against the law to leave a child under six years unattended in a car.
A child should be under 40 pounds to ride in a rear-facing car seat.A child should be under 20 pounds to ride in a rear-facing car seat.
It is against the law to leave a child under seven years unattended in a car.A forward-facing car seat may be used once your child is greater than 20 pounds in weight.
A child can start sitting in the front seat after age 13.A child can start sitting in the front seat after age 9.
It is against the law to leave a child under seven years unattended in a car.It is against the law to leave a child under the age of 7 years unattended in a car.
The penalty for not following the law is $75 for the first violation and $200 for subsequent violations.The penalty for not following the law is $50.
Taxis and Uber drivers are not exempt from the car seat laws.Taxis and Uber drivers and exempt from the car seat laws.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, the law requires all children under the age of 8 to be restrained using a car seat or a booster seat. A rear-facing car seat should be used from birth up to 2 years of age, with a height of less than 40 inches and weight of less than 40 pounds. 

A forward-facing car seat should be used from 2 to 4 years of age, with a height greater than 40 inches and a weight greater than 40 pounds. Booster seats should be used between ages 4 and 12 with a height of less than 4 feet and 9 inches. You may transition your child to a seat belt as early as eight years of age if they meet the requirements laid down by the law. 

FAQs

1. What are the booster seat requirements in Illinois?

The booster seat requirements in Illinois include:

  • The age of the child is between 4 and 12 years.
  • Your child’s height should be less than 4 feet and 9 inches.
  • Your child has exceeded the limits of the forward-facing car seat recommended by the manufacturer’s guidelines.

2. How do Illinois car seat laws determine height and weight requirements?

According to the Illinois car seat laws, the height and weight requirements recommended by the manufacturer should be followed. The law states that a child should be less than 40 inches long and weigh less than 40 pounds to ride rear-facing. For forward-facing car seats, a child should be over 40 inches tall and 40 pounds in weight. A child should be under 4 feet and 9 inches to ride in a booster seat. A child over 4 feet and 9 inches tall may be restrained using a seat belt. 

3. What are the specific car seat requirements in Illinois?

The specific car seat requirements in Illinois include the following:

  • The shoulder straps should be at the level of the shoulders or below it
  • The straps should not be twisted
  • The chest clip should lie at the level of the armpits
  • The child should be in the rear seat if there is a functioning airbag in the front seat
  • The car seat is buckled appropriately tight. It is tight enough if the car seat does not move more than 1 inch in the belt path. 

4. How can understanding Illinois car seat laws help ensure child safety and generate leads for car seat providers?

Understanding the Illinois Car Seat Laws and following them will ensure that your child travels most safely. Traveling using a proper restraining system reduces the accident risk by up to 70%. You will also be able to avoid fines. Moreover, adequately restraining your child, there will be less disturbance in the car. At the same time, you drive, reducing the chance of your attention getting diverted as you drive, thereby reducing the chance of serious accidents.

For car seat providers, these laws serve as a broad guideline that helps them create car seats that will carry the child of appropriate age, height, and weight.

Author

Brenton