Car seat laws in Hawaii are designed to keep children of all ages as safe as possible while riding in a vehicle. From booster seat laws to the requirements for different age and weight groups, these rules exist to ensure the protection of vulnerable kids.

Whether you are a parent or just babysitting for the day, make sure you understand the rules and regulations if you will be driving a child in your vehicle. The ramifications for breaking these laws can include penalty fines and more for the driver.

Car seat safety laws typically include restrictions and requirements for children up to a certain age and/or a certain weight. You should make sure to carefully review the car seat ages to ensure you follow the current laws based on safety standards set by the Department of Transportation.

Note that Hawaii residents can receive a $25 tax credit of each year for the purchase of a booster or a child safety seat, so be sure to claim that as appropriate.

What are the car seat laws in Hawaii?

Child car seat laws in Hawaii are essentially broken into two segments for car seats versus booster seats. A booster seat age restriction exists to ensure that children younger than a certain age are still being protected, even after outgrowing a car seat. Make sure you review the following regulations carefully to ensure you meet all applicable requirements.

  1. Child Car Seat Safety in Hawaii: State law requires all children younger than four years old to be in a car seat while riding in any vehicle. Always check the car seat weight limitations for the particular seat that you purchase for your child. All car seats should be placed on the back seat and should be rear-facing until the child is at least two years old.
  2. Hawaii Child Booster Seat Laws: State law requires all children between the ages of four through seven to ride in either a car seat or a booster seat while in any vehicle. Be sure to check the booster seat weight limitations for the particular seat that you purchase for your child. When using a booster seat, never put the shoulder safety belt behind a child’s back or under a child’s arm.

Note that, regardless of booster seat weight requirements or age requirements, any child who cannot sit with his or her back against the seat while his or her knees are bent over the edge of the seat should continue to use a booster seat for increased safety.

Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in Hawaii

Car seat rules in Hawaii apply to any driver of any vehicle with a child passenger. It does not matter if you are not the parent of the child or if you do not own a car seat or booster seat for the child to use in your own vehicle. Any driver of any vehicle is obligated by law to follow these regulations for the protection of the child passenger.

If you are cited for violating the car seat safety regulations, you will be required to appear in court. If you are found guilty of breaking any of these Hawaii car seat laws, you will then be required to attend a four-hour class and you might also need to pay a penalty fee of several hundred dollars. Fees are higher if this is not your first offense of the child passenger safety rules.

Types of Car Seats

There are many types of car seats and booster seats available for purchase. The best car seats available come from popular brands such as Chicco, Evenflo and Graco. These are often rated the safest car seats around after extensive testing, but it is always wise to confirm current ratings and news before making such an important purchase.

In general, the following types of seats exist so that you can choose the best type for you based on your child’s needs and on your type of vehicle:

  • Rear Facing Car Seat: Sometimes called an infant car seat, this is required for children from birth and is recommended until the child is at least two years old. You must check the weight and height requirements of the seat you choose, but some rear facing seats will accommodate kids weighing up to 45 pounds.
  • Forward Facing Car Seat: Once your child gets too tall or too big to use the rear facing seat, you will have to then switch to a forward-facing seat. Kids should use these until at least four years of age, depending on weight and height requirements.
  • Convertible Car Seat: These seats can be used as both rear facing and forward facing, which allows you to use the same seat for a longer period of time.
  • Booster Car Seat: The booster car seat age limits are generally between four through seven years old. Kids in this age group should use booster seats in the back seat of the car until they a safety belt can be worn as it is intended.

Car Seat Installation Information

Car seat safety is predominantly based on the proper installation of the seat inside your vehicle, as well as making sure the child is correctly harnessed into that seat. Car seat installation can be tricky, so it is very important that you understand the laws as well as the exact requirements for the specific type of seat that you purchase.

Unfortunately, statistics show that installing car seats is done incorrectly four out of every five times a child car seat is used in the U.S. This leads to a much higher chance of a child getting seriously injured or even killed in the event of a car accident. Here are some tips to ensure correct installation:

  • Carefully read the instructions for how to install a car seat that are provided with your purchase.
  • Choose a seat based on your child and on your specific vehicle.
  • The safest car seat installation location is at the center of the back seat of your vehicle.
  • Never install a rear facing seat in front where there is an active airbag.
  • Always double-check that both the car seat and the harness are tight every time you use the seat.
Last updated on Wednesday, September 23 2020.