If you live in West Virginia, it is important to know the car seat laws to keep your children safe. These car seat laws are easier to follow in West Virginia compared to many other states.
The West Virginia car seat laws require parents to keep children seven and under, and under 4’ 9” tall, to use an approved child safety seat. Parents can choose what type of car seat based on the car seats they choose.
Once the child reaches the age of 8, they must sit in the vehicle with a seat belt. It is recommended that the child sits in the back seat unless there are no spots available.
Let us take a look at some of the car seat laws in West Virginia.
- West Virginia Car Seat Laws
- Using a Rear-Facing Car Seat
- Using a Forward-Facing Car Seat
- Using a Booster Seat
- Using a Seat Belt
- What is the Seat Belt Law in West Virginia?
- Taxi and Uber Car Seat Laws in West Virginia
- Can My Child Ride in the Front Seat?
- Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in West Virginia
West Virginia Car Seat Laws
West Virginia car seat laws are in place to help keep your child safe. Some of the car seat laws that parents must follow include:
Using a Rear-Facing Car Seat
West Virginia car seat laws do not state any preference for rear-facing car seats. Unlike other states, West Virginia does not put a weight or age limit on when a child should use a rear-facing car seat.
However, all infants and younger children should use a rear-facing car seat. The American Pediatrics Association recommends children under the age of two use a rear-facing car seat.
These car seats are safer for younger children. Sitting rear-facing in a car during an accident can prevent any neck or head injuries. Several car seat models are designed to hold children up to 35 pounds while facing rear-facing. This helps keep your child safer for longer in the back seat of the vehicle.
At a minimum, your child should sit rear-facing until they are a year old and 20 pounds. If in doubt, always follow the recommendations from the manufacturer of your car seat.
Using a Forward-Facing Car Seat
West Virginia car seat laws state that infants through children age 7 who are under 4’ 9” must be restrained in the proper child safety seat. There are no requirements for weight on this.
The APA recommends that children remain in an approved car seat from age 2 to 4 at a minimum. Using a car seat with a five-point harness is the best option.
Many car seats are designed to hold children up to 50 to 65 pounds. This gives parents more freedom to keep their children in a car seat for a little longer.
West Virginia car seat law does not specify when a child can leave the forward-facing car seat and move into a booster seat. Most recommendations place the age of the child at 5 when they move to a booster seat.
Using a Booster Seat
West Virginia car seat law requires children under the age of 7 and 4’ 9” to use a child safety seat. Once your child has outgrown their forward-facing car seat, they may start to use a booster seat.
Children must remain in the booster seat until they reach the age of 8. They must also be taller than 4’ 9” when they transition out of the booster seat.
When using a booster seat, ensure that the seat belt fits properly. The seat belt should fit nicely around the lap of the child, and not their stomach. The seat belt should also fit snugly around the chest and shoulders of the child.
Using a Seat Belt
West Virginia car seat laws require all children ages 8 to 15 to be properly restrained with a seat belt while in the vehicle.
Parents may choose to keep their children in a booster seat for longer. However, they must follow all seat belt laws for the state as well.
What is the Seat Belt Law in West Virginia?
West Virginia seat belt laws require drivers and passengers to wear their seat belts when the vehicle is moving. This law is in effect all the time, not just during the yearly Click it or Ticket campaigns.
All drivers and anyone in the front seat of the vehicle in West Virginia should wear a seat belt. All passengers under the age of 18 must wear a seat belt, whether they sit in the front seat or the back seat.
Any passenger over the age of 18 who sits in the back seat of the vehicle does not need to wear a seat belt. It is still good practice to wear the seat belt for safety.
Taxi and Uber Car Seat Laws in West Virginia
West Virginia car seat laws require your child to be properly restrained in an approved car seat when riding in an Uber or taxi. The Uber and taxi service is not required to provide the child safety seat.
Some Uber services may provide limited options for car seats to their customers. If you plan to rely on this, always double-check that they will have the proper car seat for your child.
Parents who wish to drive in an Uber or taxi service, it is important to bring along the proper car seat. This will help keep your child safe when on the road.
Can My Child Ride in the Front Seat?
West Virginia does not have any laws about a child sitting in the front seat. If the child will travel in a truck with no back seat, they can safely ride in the front. The child must still stay in an approved child safety seat.
The back seat of the vehicle is always the safest for your child. However, if all the seats are taken by other children who are properly restrained, then the child may sit up in the frog of the vehicle.
If your child is in the front seat, make sure that the airbag is disabled. Push the chair back as far as it will go to make sure they are safe while riding in the front of the vehicle.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in West Virginia
The penalties for violating car seat regulations in West Virginia include a traffic ticket and a fine. Drivers who violate the child passenger safety laws may face a fine of $10 to $20.
West Virginia also has several adult seat belt laws that we discussed above. Violating one of those laws can result in a fine of $25.
When driving with children older than the booster car seat age, drivers will receive the fine if the child does not wear a seat belt. Always make sure that everyone in the car is in the proper car seat or wears a seat belt.
In West Virginia, the driver will receive the citation on their driving record. This happens even if the parent of that child is not the driver but is in the car.
West Virginia car seat laws allow parents to make the best decisions for their children. All children under the age of 7 must sit in an approved child safety seat. However, the parents may choose how long each stage lasts.
It is best to follow not only the West Virginia car seat laws but also the recommendations from the car seat manufacturer. This will help ensure your child stays safe while in the vehicle.