Connecticut Car Seat Laws

Baby sitting on a carseat for safety.

According to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles* (DMV), car accidents are one of the main causes of death for children under 12. Car seats are a critical way to protect children from harm in a collision – as long as the car seat is installed and used correctly. However, even a correctly installed car seat can fail to work properly if it is defective. In some cases, a defective car seat can even injure a child.

It’s essential to install a child’s car seat correctly and determine which type should be used based on their weight and age. If your child is injured by a defective car seat, contact a Connecticut personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

An experienced Connecticut car accident attorney like those from Jainchill & Beckert, LLC can help you fight for the compensation you and your child are entitled to after a collision.

What Are Connecticut’s Child Car Seat Laws?

Under Connecticut law:

  • If your child is under 2 or weighs under 30 pounds, you must use a rear-facing car seat with a five-point harness.
  • If your child is between the ages of 2 and 5 or weighs between 30 and 40 pounds, you must use a car seat with a five-point harness. This car seat can be either rear-facing or front-facing.
  • If your child is between the ages of 5 and 8 or weighs between 40 and 60 pounds, you may use either a car seat with a five-point harness or a booster seat.
  • If your child is at least 8 years old and at least 60 pounds, they may use either a booster seat or a regular seat belt.

Even though a child may be old enough to use a seat belt rather than a booster seat, it’s still safer for them to use a booster seat as long as possible.

What Are the Penalties for Not Following Connecticut Car Seat Laws?

The penalties for not following Connecticut car seat laws include:

  • A mandatory child safety course provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles
  • For a second or subsequent offense, a fine of up to $190
  • Motor vehicle license suspension if the driver fails to take the mandatory course
  • A Class A misdemeanor charge for a third or subsequent violation

Are Child Safety Seats Required in Taxis, Buses, and Rideshare Vehicles?

Child safety seats are required in taxis and rideshare vehicles, just as in any other vehicle. However, Connecticut law does not clearly define whether the parent or the driver is responsible for ensuring the child is in a proper car seat. Parents should either bring the car seat themselves or use the driver’s if available. Drivers should also either provide a car seat or allow the parents to do so.

Some drivers may choose to ignore the law and pick up passengers without the appropriate car seats solely because they do not want to lose the fare. However, if they are pulled over, they risk incurring a fine and being forced to take a child car safety course.

Under Connecticut law, no child car seat is required when riding a bus. This means that you can take a city bus without worrying about a car seat. Contact our Hartford car accident lawyer today.

When Can a Child Ride in the Front Seat?

According to the East Hartford Traffic Division, children should not ride in the front seat until they are at least 13. It’s better not to rush, as children are safer in the back seat – even if they are technically old enough to ride up front.

Do Children Have to Use Seat Belts?

Children must always use a safety belt whenever they’re in a motor vehicle. This rule is in addition to child car seat requirements. Even in a booster seat, children should use a lap and shoulder belt to protect them in case of a crash.

How Do I Safely Use a Car Seat?

Child passenger safety is of the utmost importance for any parent, so you naturally want to be sure you’ve installed the car seat correctly. Every type of car seat is installed differently. The instructions are also different depending on the vehicle. The most important point is to follow the instructions that come with the car seat. If you are at all uncertain about whether your car seat is installed correctly, have it checked at a car seat fitting station.

Some general safety tips to follow when using a car seat include:

  • Always ensure the car seat’s harness is snug and sitting at the right spot on the child’s chest.
  • Do not upgrade to a booster seat until the seat belt fits your child properly, even if they meet the age and weight requirements.
  • Watch for car seat recalls and check the seat to ensure it is not expired.
  • You should replace a car seat after it is involved in a moderate or severe car wreck.
  • When in doubt, always refer to the car seat’s instruction manual to make sure you’re using it properly.

What Should I Do If My Child Is Injured by a Defective Child Seat?

If your child is injured by a defective child car seat, you should first seek medical attention and then contact a Connecticut car accident attorney immediately. Keep the car seat for professional inspection and take photos to document the defects in the seat.

Contact a Connecticut Personal Injury Lawyer

If your child was injured in a crash caused by someone else or harmed by a defective car seat, you should contact a Connecticut personal injury attorney immediately. An experienced lawyer like those from Jainchill & Beckert, LLC can help you file a car accident claim to pursue the compensation you deserve.


Aaron has been practicing law throughout Connecticut for over two decades. In that time, he has developed a strong reputation for providing both excellent and compassionate legal representation to every client that passes through our doors. He has litigated cases in nearly every courthouse in the state, and our clients benefit from his deep knowledge of the law within his practice areas and beyond.  

Reflecting the high quality of his services, he has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. This honor is granted to fewer than 100 attorneys in the state, as well as fewer than 4% of attorneys nationwide. Aaron graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1995 and the Western New England University School of Law in 1998.