Connecticut car seat laws address child passenger safety and ensure that children are old enough to be front-seat passengers. Additionally, booster seat laws attempt to regulate which child restraint devices children can safely use based on their age and weight.

The booster seat age, for instance, will differ from the age children can use a seat belt. However, children who surpass some age and weight requirements may still use child restraint devices, regardless of state rules.

Understanding car seat safety and related laws can not only help you avoid legal penalties but also the risk or injuries or deaths. While driving is a necessity, protecting your children in the vehicle should be a priority.

By using a child restraint as instructed, you can reduce the risk of death by 71 percent in children. Read the following sections to learn more about the types of seats and seat laws that may affect you and your children.

What are the car seat laws in Connecticut?

State car seat regulations require children and teens to be buckled in an appropriate child restraint based on their age, weight and height. However, only the car or booster seat weight and age restrictions for child restraints are taken into consideration by the law. The following list explains how the laws operate in CT:

  • Infants younger than two years old and less than 30 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing child restraint.
  • Toddlers between the ages of two and four–weighing from 30 to and 39 pounds, respectively–must be secured in a front-facing child restraint with a five-point harness system.
  • Children between the ages of five and seven years old and more than 40 pounds but less than 60 pounds must ride in a booster seat and use a vehicle lap and shoulder belt.
  • Children eight years old or older who weigh 60 pounds or more can wear a seat belt without child restraint devices.

Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in Connecticut

To promote car seat safety, a few penalties are given to violators of the law. Unlike most states which deliver only fines to violators of car seat rules, CT law enforcement officers can issue violators a fine and require them to attend a two-hour course detailing safe driving practices with children passengers. These courses are mandatory and are assigned following first and second violations.

If these CT Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) courses are not attended, then a driver’s license may be suspended for up to two months. Typically, fines can total $199 for second violations, but first violations are only considered infractions. All violations after the second are classified as class A misdemeanors.

Note: Violators will receive a notice if they fail to complete a DMV course.

Types of Car Seats

Types of car seats include the convertible car seat that can accommodate babies and toddlers for a few years and combination seats that support children until they can wear seat belts by transforming into a booster seat. The best car seats for you, though, will depend on various factors. To help you decide which child or infant car seat is right for you, this list of the main child restraint types has been provided:

  • Rear facing car seat. These seats are designed to move with newborns and small babies as the car moves to protect them without straining their necks. A baby car seat like this is required for all infants younger than two and must have a five-point harness.
  • Forward facing car seat. Best for toddlers, these seats have similar features and security that rear-facing restraints have. However, this toddler car seat is for children between the ages of two and four.
  • Booster seat. A booster only elevates children and cannot replace a full seat, but it allows children ages five and older to use a vehicle seat belt effectively.
  • Basic seat belt. When using the lap and shoulder straps properly, children older than eight years old can benefit from wearing only seat belts in vehicles.

Although it is not required by state law, parents and drivers are reminded that children should stay in a child restraint for as long as possible or until they are 12 years old. To find some of the safest car seats for your children, you are encouraged to look online at customer reviews and compare products. A few of the top-rated child restraints in CT include high-end brands like Graco and Britax that combine luxury and security.

Car Seat Installation Information

According to Safe Kids CT, 80 percent of all car seats installed in the state have been installed or used incorrectly. Consequently, car seat laws are not being met completely in the state, and children are at an increased risk of getting injured or killed in an accident.

The car seat installation process may seem challenging, but there are many tools you can use when assembling and installing the child restraints that can make the process run more smoothly. A list of helpful installation tips is as follows:

  • Utilize a child passenger safety technician at a car seat clinic or fitting station. They can help you secure your child restraints and show you how to adjust and reinstall them better than online videos. Seventy-five fitting stations are available in the state, so you can find the location that is nearest to you.
  • Read the instructions manual that came with the child restraint device. While this may seem obvious, you should completely review the instructions before beginning to ensure you do not misuse parts or forget steps.
  • Measure your child and adjust straps accordingly. After the restraint is in place and secured, you should try to tighten or loosen the straps on the harness or safety belt so that the shoulder straps fall at armpit-level and the lap straps sit slightly below the waist.
Last updated on Wednesday, September 23 2020.