What are the car seat laws in Virginia?

Virginia child safety seat laws are a primary offense with fines starting at $50 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: Jul 14, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Each state has unique car seat laws, and Virginia’s car seat laws impact children up to the age of eight
  • Drivers may be fined if a passenger in their vehicle is not properly secured by a car seat as required by Virginia state law
  • Drivers should be aware of the local state law for car seats as well as the state law of other nearby states if you plan to travel beyond Virginia’s state lines
  • Virginia car insurance companies take these laws as seriously as the state does
  • The NHTSA is an excellent resource to rely on when you need information about the proper installation of a car seat in your vehicle


The American Academy of Pediatrics has established health and safety guidelines for babies and younger children traveling in vehicles. These guidelines do not supersede the laws in any state. However, in some cases, the AAP’s guidelines are more significant than state laws.

Because of this, many parents take the extra step of following the AAP guidelines, and this may mean that they may keep their children in safety seats longer than they are required to by the laws in their state.

The AAP recommends that children are securely fastened in a rear-facing car seat until the age of two years old. This recommendation was increased from 12 months.

After the age of two years old, the AAP recommends that children sit in a front-facing booster seat until they are at least four-feet, nine-inches tall and are between the ages of eight and 12 years old.

Car Seat Law for Virginia

The American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines are not firm requirements that must be followed, but Virginia has established car seat laws that all drivers are required to obey at all times. In this state, all children under the age of eight years old must be securely restrained in an approved car seat anytime they are in a moving vehicle.

Ideally, rear-facing car seats as suggested by the manufacturer will be placed in the rear seating area. However, in the event the car seat must be placed in the front seat, the front airbag should be deactivated.

You should be aware that Virginia does not specifically mandate an age when children should be rear-facing or forward-facing.

It also does not place weight or height restrictions for children who are transitioning from a booster seat to the car’s primary seat belt system.

Parents should be aware of the differences between the state laws in Virginia and the AAP recommendations, and you can make the best decision possible regarding how to fasten your children securely in the car.

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Consequences for Breaking the Law

In Virginia, law enforcement officials can pull you over and cite you for a violation of the child safety law as a primary offense for children who are age 18 months and younger.

This means that the law enforcement official does not need to have any other reason for pulling the vehicle over other than noticing that a young child is not fastened in a car seat as required by law.

On the other hand, if the child is older than the age of 18 months, the offense is secondary.

With a secondary law, the law enforcement officer must have another primary reason to pull you over and may cite you for the secondary safety seat violation in addition to the primary citation.

You may be wondering what your penalty is for a violation of the car seat law in Virginia. Drivers who are cited for violating the car seat law in this state will be required to pay a fine up to $50 per violation.

Note that the violation for children who are eight years old and older and who are not in compliance with the seatbelt law is $25 per violation.

There are no additional points added to your driving record for these violations. Remember that if you have multiple children in the car who are not properly fastened, you could face multiple fines for one incident.

Child Safety and Care Tips

When driving with a child of any age in the car in Virginia and beyond, you should take extra steps to ensure that you and the child are safe.

For example, avoid distracted driving behavior, and only drive the vehicle when weather and road conditions are ideal when possible.

You should also review your car insurance policy today to ensure that your existing coverage meets the state’s minimum requirements as well as any additional coverage needs you have.

When comparing car insurance policies in Virginia, choose your providers carefully as a first step before requesting quotes.

Focus your attention on finding providers that are financially secure and that have a great customer service record. Then, you can compare at least three or four policies based on the type and amount of coverage that you want to buy to identify the best deal.

You should be aware that a child safety seat or booster seat only works well when it is properly installed and used as intended.

You can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website for information about how to properly install car seats as well as to locate a car seat check station in your area.

By making use of these resources, you can feel confident about your use of a properly installed safety seat. Don’t miss out on our FREE insurance comparison tool below! Just enter your ZIP code and start comparing rates now!

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