Alaska has child safety seat and seat belt requirements that generally apply to all children under the age of 16. Drivers are responsible for ensuring children who are under the age of 16 years old are properly secured. The type of restraint required varies depending on the age, weight, and height of the child and the guidelines of the child seat manufacturer.
Child safety seat requirements. Under Alaska law, children who are younger than eight years old generally must be secured in a child safety seat or booster seat that meets federal standards. (Federal law sets the safety requirements for all types of child safety seats.) However, children in this age range who are at least four years old and weigh at least 65 pounds or are at least 57 inches tall can be secured with a seat belt.
Type of car seat. Generally, there are three types of child safety seats: rear-facing, forward-facing, and boosters. Alaska law requires children who are younger than one year old or weigh less than 20 pounds to be in a rear-facing seat. Children who are between the ages of one and four years old and weigh 20 pounds or more can be secured in a forward-facing car seat. Children who are between the ages of four and eight years old and weigh 20 to 65 pounds and are shorter than 57 inches can be secured in a booster seat.
Alaska law generally allows children who are at least eight years old or at least four years old and weigh at least 65 pounds or are at least 57 inches tall to be secured with a normal seat belt.
Alaska law doesn't specifically prohibit children from sitting in the front-seat area of a vehicle. However, the law does require parents to follow the child seat manufacturer's instructions. So, in deciding where to seat a child, parents should look to the instructions for the seat they are using.
The child safety seat and restraint rules are subject to a number of exceptions. Generally, the rules don't apply to buses (unless required to have seat belts under federal law) or emergency vehicles. Also, some passengers may be exempt from the normal rules because of physical or medical conditions.
A child safety seat or child restraint violation is an infraction and carries up to $50 in fines and two traffic violation demerit points. However, if a violator provides proof to law enforcement within 30 days of the violation of acquiring an appropriate child restraint system, the court will dismiss the ticket, and the driver won't have to deal with these consequences.
For more information about child safety seats, you can go to the Alaska Injury Prevention Center website. Also, recalls are occasionally issued for child safety seats. To find out about recalls, you can register with the NHTSA to receive recall information about the seat you have or search for recalls that have already been issued.