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What Parents Need to Know about Car Seat Safety

Parents are faced with a number of safety concerns regarding their children, not the least of which is car seat safety. The Chicago injury lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are dedicated to keeping the motorists and their passengers safe and, as such, we provide readers with the following information regarding car seat safety.

While specific state laws may vary, child safety experts generally make the following recommendations when it comes to car seat safety:

  • Infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are two years of age or reach the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat's manufacturer. Rear-facing safety seats should recline 30-45 degrees and the child's head should be at least one inch below the top of the safety seat when rear-facing. Harness straps should fit snugly on the child, with the harness clip at armpit level and the harness straps at or below shoulder level.

  • Children two years of age or older who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their car seat, should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat's manufacturer.

  • Once a child has outgrown the forward-facing car seat, he or she should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the age 8 or the vehicle seat belt fits properly, whichever comes later. The vehicle lap belt should lie low across the upper thighs, not the stomach, and the shoulder belt should rest snugly across the shoulder and chest, not across the neck or face. Parents can rest assured that child booster seats are safer than ever. In fact, as we reported, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IHS) recently issued a report awarding 15 of the 17 booster seats introduced in 2012 with its top rating of BEST BET.

  • Children should ride in the back seat until at least age 12.

Illinois Car Seat Laws

Illinois law requires the driver and all passengers, regardless of age or location in the vehicle, to be secured in a seat belt or an appropriately approved child restraint system. Additionally, Illinois law provides the following:

"Any person transporting a child under the age of 8 years shall be responsible for securing that child in an appropriate child restraint system, more commonly called a child safety seat. The parent or legal guardian of the child under the age of 8 years shall provide a child restraint system to any person who transports his or her child. A child weighing more than 40 pounds may be transported in the back seat of a motor vehicle while wearing only a lap belt if the back seat of the motor vehicle is not equipped with a combination lap and shoulder belt.

The Illinois Secretary of State's Office offers child safety seat inspections by certified child safety seat technicians at many Driver Services facilities throughout the state through its Keep Me In a Safe Seat Program. Parents are encourages to visit one of these car seat facilities to ensure that their child's car seat is safe and properly installed. To schedule a child safety seat inspection, you can call (866) 247-0213 or complete the Request a Child Safety Seat Inspection form online.

The Chicago auto accident attorneys at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are committed to protecting the rights of auto accident victims and to keeping motorists and passengers safe. If you or your child were injured in a car crash, do not hesitate to contact one of our skilled Chicago auto accident attorneys at (312) 782-1386.


Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  ( is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.

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