What are the car seat laws in Hawaii?

Hawaii's child safety seat laws are a primary offense with fines starting at $100 per incident. State law mandates children under 7 must be properly secured.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 21, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Hawaiian car seat laws apply to residents and visitors
  • Hawaiian law does not require children to remain rear-facing until they are two
  • There is a fine for anyone caught driving with their kids not in the correct safety seat and Hawaiian car insurance companies will respond in kind
  • All car seats come with different safety requirements

Hawaii is a vacation paradise for many people looking to escape the everyday lives they lead, but not everyone takes the time to familiarize themselves with the laws when they visit this lovely state.

Are you planning a vacation to Hawaii in the near future? Do you live here now? Do you have plans to make a move onto one of the islands with your family?

If you are a parent, grandparent, friend, or the caregiver or guardian of any children, it’s imperative you know what’s legal and what’s not when buckling children into child seats in Hawaii.

Make sure you have the car insurance you’re required to have in Hawaii, as well. Enter your ZIP code into our free rate comparison tool above to find the best rate for the coverage you need.

What are the Car Seat Laws in Hawaii?

Children are not yet large enough to safely ride in vehicles the way adults do. Hawaii law breaks down child car seat laws into two categories. The first is car seat laws. Car seats are designed for children younger than four.

If you have a child three or younger, you’ll need to purchase a car seat.

It’s never recommended you purchase a used car seat. Seats are no longer considered safe if they’ve been involved in a car accident, and you simply never know.

If you are involved in an accident and your child’s car seat is in the car, it’s imperative you replace it right away. Your car insurance policy does cover the cost of replacement for your car seats, and that’s an important question to ask when you shop for car insurance.

Some companies choose to cover the cost of car seat replacement under their comprehensive or collision plans, and knowing what you’re entitled to is a major determining factor when choosing a policy.

All car seats must be placed in the rear seat of a vehicle. It’s against the law to place a child’s car seat in the front seat if there is a back seat in the vehicle. All car seats must be properly purchased for the age and size of your child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics promotes the belief children should remain facing backward in their car seat until they reach the age of two, but it’s only mandatory until children are one in Hawaii.

After two, it’s safe to turn your child around to face the front of your vehicle in his or her seat.


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Booster Seat Laws in Hawaii

Booster seat laws apply to children who are four to seven. Before you purchase a booster seat, you should understand Hawaiian law does not require you to remove your child from his or her car seat if he or she still fits within the recommended weight range for the seat.

A booster seat is simply not safe for a child younger than four, but a car seat is perfectly sufficient for a child older than four provided they still fit.

Booster seats are like car seats in that they do not belong in the front seat. They are for the back seat only, and they are for forward-facing children only.

These seats are designed for children who do not yet fit properly in a car’s safety belt when seated without a booster, so your child might remain in this seat long past the age of seven if he or she is small enough.

Booster seats, like car seats, are not recommended to continue being used if they’ve been involved in a car accident. Whether it’s minor or worse, talk to your car insurance company about replacement value when an accident occurs.

It’s best to know what kind of coverage you have when it applies to expensive seats designed to save the lives of your children prior to choosing a car insurance policy.

Penalties for Not Placing Children in Proper Car Seats or Boosters in Hawaii

If you have a child and fail to place your child in the proper car seat or booster seat in Hawaii, you might face charges.

Anyone who is pulled over or involved in an accident with a child younger than seven not placed in the correct child safety seat is subject to a $100 fine for their first offense. It’s up to the discretion of the police officer to issue a larger fine for subsequent offenses.

If your car seat was damaged in a car accident and you cannot afford to replace it yourself, you must call your insurance company to discuss replacement costs. Keep in mind the following information:

  • Your policy should include a replacement value for your child’s car seat
  • The state offers all residents a $25 per year tax credit when you purchase a new car seat or booster for your child
  • Your child should never ride in any vehicle without a car seat or booster simply because it was damaged and no longer safe for your child

Child Safety Comes First

Children are not large enough to fit into a car with a traditional safety belt. It might not be something people pay much attention to, but an improperly fitted seat belt can be the difference between life and death.

Children need as much help as they can get in the car to keep them safe in case of an accident, and that’s why Hawaiian law requires children to have a car seat.

The cost of these seats isn’t always affordable for families, which is why replacement value is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a new car insurance policy.

Keep your kids safe in the car by understanding all car seats come with different age and size requirements. Read them carefully and know what’s required from your child’s seats prior to placing kids in any seat.

Compare car insurance quotes today by using our free rate tool below.

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