Booster seats are a type of seating restraint system intended for small children who have outgrown their car seats or infant seats. They are typically intended for use with children who are below a certain age or weight. Usually, this is somewhere around age 5 or 40 pounds. States may have different booster seat laws, but they are generally very similar in nature and intended to provide additional child safety measures.
How Do Booster Seat Laws Differ by State?
49 states total require the use of booster seats (or other similar devices) for children who are too big for a child car seat but too small to use regular adult seat belts. The District of Columbia and Puerto Rico also have booster seat laws. Only South Dakota does not have specific booster seat laws.
As mentioned, the requirement as to whether a child needs to be in a booster seat depends on state law. For instance, Alaska requires children who are 4-7 years old and 20-64 lbs. (or less than 57”) to be in a booster seat. In comparison, Colorado law only requires booster seats for children 4-7 years old, and doesn’t have any corresponding height or weight requirements. Children in Kansas need to be in a booster seat if they are ages 4-7 and less than 80 lbs. or less than 57”.
Thus, state booster laws vary slightly, but they all protect children of about the same age and size. You should check with your local state listings if you have specific questions about the booster seat laws in your area.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Booster Seat Injuries?
Booster seats are typically less restrictive than car seats for infants or for very young children. As such, they can sometimes be a factor in car accidents resulting in serious injury to the child. Liability can sometimes be attributed to:
Mistakes or errors by an adult in securing the child with the booster seat (for instance, installing the seat improperly, or fastening the seat belts improperly)
Defects attributable to the manufacturer (these can result from warning defects, manufacturing defects, or design defects)
In some cases, a defective booster seat may be subject to a recall. Lawsuits that involve booster seat injuries may lead to a monetary damage award to compensate the injured party for injury or death. Booster seats have also been the subject of class action lawsuits in the past.
Lastly, a parent can be held liable and can possibly be subject to criminal citations or charges for failing to follow state child booster seat laws.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Booster Seat Injury Claim?
Booster seat laws are different in every state. You may need to hire a personal injury lawyer in your area if you need legal assistance with a booster seat claim. Your attorney can provide you with research to determine how your state booster seat laws affect you and your children. Also, if you need to file a legal claim or a lawsuit, your attorney can provide you with representation in a court of law during key meetings and hearings.