Arizona Car Seat Laws
Car seat laws in AZ aim to protect all child passengers in vehicles by creating age and height requirements. Booster seat laws in the state were amended in 2012 and continue to be adjusted as new child safety information is discovered.
Therefore, keeping up with the latest laws and safety information can be challenging. Additionally, the information can be confusing. Parents and drivers alike can benefit from reading the following sections and learning more about child restraint regulations.
Not only is leaving young children unrestrained in vehicles dangerous, but it can also be distracting. In the sections below, recommended booster seat age details and other facts about the types of child restraints that are available for purchase can be found. Interested parents and drivers should review this information to ensure they thoroughly care for all children passengers and avoid breaking state or federal laws.
What are the car seat laws in Arizona?
According to AZ car seat regulations, all children younger than eight years old and shorter than 4’9” tall must be secured in a type of child restraint system in moving vehicles. Children younger than five must be in a convertible car seat or another type of safety restraint regardless of their height.
Satisfactory child restraints include car seats, boosters and some built-in and add-on restraints. Detailed car and booster seat age and height information for children passengers is available below:
- Children younger than five years old. Car seat safety and AZ law dictate that these infants and children must be restrained in moving vehicles and should sit in the back seats.
- Children between the ages of five and eight. These children may require a child restraint device in vehicles, depending on their height. If a child in this age-range exceeds four feet nine inches in height, then they are permitted to ride in a vehicle unrestrained (except for a seat belt).
- Children older than eight. They are allowed to ride in vehicles with seat belts only.
Despite the clear age and height specifications, no booster seat weight requirements are enforced in AZ. The AAA of AZ recommends that all children who are shorter than 4’9” and who may meet weight requirements for a certain child restraint device remain in restraints until they outgrow them or grow taller.
Exceptions to these laws may be warranted if drivers can provide sufficient proof of their attempts to acquire a safety restraint. Additionally, children being transported in emergency situations may be exempt from these laws, and vehicles without passenger safety restraints or the ability to attach restraints may not incur penalties for violations.
Other exceptions include drivers transporting multiple children who must be restrained per AZ law. If drivers cannot reasonably secure all children due to space, then they may not need to do so.
Note: A car seat must fit children properly to be considered appropriate for road use and to meet state regulations.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in Arizona
Penalties for violating any child car seat laws Include fines up to $50. Law enforcement officers can enforce car seat safety penalties whenever drivers are suspected of violating state or federal laws because offenses are considered primary.
However, officers must first evaluate the children’s age and height to verify that they need to be restrained. AZ drivers may dispute charges in court if they believe an officer’s actions failed to uphold the law.
Types of Car Seats
Multiple types of car seats exist that can keep children safe in the event of an accident, but each seat may not be ideal for every child. For instance, a convertible car seat cannot accommodate an older child, and a booster seat may not provide enough support for a younger child. A list of the types of child restraints drivers and parents can get in AZ is as follows:
- Rear-facing car seat. This seat can cradle the heads, necks and backs of children younger than two years old. These seats can come in the form of an infant car seat, which is best for newborns and can facilitate transporting babies in and out of a vehicle.
- Forward facing car seat. Best for toddlers between the ages of two and four years old, this seat has adjustable harnesses and tether straps for easy installation into the car. These seats allow the child to face the front of the vehicle.
- Booster seat. Reserved for children older than four years old and younger than twelve, a booster seat enables children to sit in vehicles with added mobility, but any child may use a booster if they have trouble using a seat belt unassisted. A lap and shoulder seat belt are best to be used with this seat.
Some of the best car seats have extra features such as cup holders or convertible abilities (i.e., able to be used as multiple types of seats). Other features may be extendable sides and headrests or collapsible capabilities for ease of storing. The safest car seats are often top-selling brands including Graco, Britax and The First Years, but parents and drivers may obtain safe seats for less money by buying off-brand or lesser-known seats.
Car Seat Installation Information
The car seat installation process varies based on the child restraint device which parents or drivers are installing. However, regardless of the type of child car seat they are installing, there are tips and tricks to help them correctly and efficiently install any restraint.
For instance, children in any restraint device should have the shoulder strap or harness at armpit level and the lap strap or belt below the waist. Other tips are provided below:
- Keep the top of the child’s head lower than the headrest to offer the best protection.
- Use a high-back car seat if the vehicle does not already have a headrest and ask the auto dealer about their ability to install shoulder belts if the vehicle does not have any.
- Tighten all tether straps and utilize bungee cords to stabilize older seats if necessary.
- Fully read all installation instructions that accompany a child restraint device before beginning the installation.