Illinois’s Child Safety Seat and Seatbelt Laws

Illinois’s car seat laws and the penalties of a violation.

As vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children four-to-14 years old, Illinois requires child passengers to use proper safety restraint systems. The proper restraint depends on the child’s height, weight, and age. Failure to comply with the restraint requirements will result in fines, fees, and possibly driver’s license points.

Children Under Eight Years Old

All Illinois children under eight years old must be properly secured in an appropriate child restraint system. Child restraints include booster seats and front- and rear-facing harness systems. The Illinois Department of Transportation issued the following recommendations.

Under two years

Two to three years

Four to twelve years

Under 40 pounds

Rear-facing car seat

Rear- or forward-facing car seat

Booster seat with shoulder and lap belt

Over 40 pounds or 40” tall

Rear- or forward-facing car seat

Rear- or forward-facing car seat

Booster seat with shoulder and lap belt

Under two years old. Illinois law generally requires children who are younger than two years old to be properly secured in a rear-facing harness system. Children who are younger than two but at least 40 pounds or at least 40 inches tall may use a forward-facing seat.

Cars without shoulder straps. If the vehicle is not equipped with shoulder-strap seat belts, a child weighing at least 40 pounds may ride in the rear seat with only a lap belt.

Medical exceptions. An exception to the normal child restraint rule also exists if a physician has advised against child restraints due to a specified medical condition.

Children Over Eight Years Old

After growing out of a booster seat, all children must still wear seat belts until they are at least 16 years old. However, if the driver is a minor, all passengers under 19 years old must wear proper seat belts.

Child Restraint Violations

A child restraint violation will result in a petty offense fine of $75. A second offense carries a $200 fine. Violators who hold a graduated license, such as an instruction permit, will receive ten demerit points per violation.

The court is authorized to dismiss the charges if the violator acquires and installs an appropriate car seat and completes a child passenger safety instructional course. This option is not available to repeat offenders.

More Information and Resources

For more information about child restraint systems, check the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control. It’s also a good idea to register your car seat to be notified regarding recalls.

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