Car Restraint Requirements (Child)

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735-Other State Agencies


The U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), sets the safety standards for child car restraints.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) (Vehicle Code Section 27360.5) requires that a parent or legal guardian be responsible for any child 6 years of age or older, but less than 16 years of age, or who is less than 6 years and weighs 60 pounds or more and is a passenger in a vehicle. For safety purposes, any child within these guidelines must use a seat belt in a vehicle. Any child less than 6 years of age and less than 60 pounds must be strapped into a car seat secured by a seat belt.

NHTSA's 800 HOTLINE is for parents concerned about child safety seats and proper installation: If restraints (seat belts) are defective or fail to comply with safety standards imposed by NHTSA, complaints and specific defects should be reported to NHTSA.


1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE

West Building

Washington, DC 20590

(800) 424-9393 HOTLINE


Public Inquiry Unit

PO Box 932345

Sacramento, CA 94232-3450

(800) 777-0133

The CHP enforces Vehicle Code 27365, requiring car rental companies to make child safety seats available for rental cars (companies charge for use in rental cars).


Consumers should consult with specific airline before taking child aboard an airplane. Each airline has its own policy because FAA is not requiring airlines to supply child restraint equipment. Passengers may bring their own child carriers but should check with airline customer service before traveling.

Issues relating to safety and fire resistant filling for child safety seats:

Department of Consumer Affairs

Bureau of Household Goods and Services

4244 South Market Court, Suite D

Sacramento, California 95834-1243

VEHICLE CODE SECTION 27362 applies to:

Parents: Must secure children with seat belts (or child carrier seats) when traveling in their own vehicles.

VEHICLE CODE SECTION 27362 for seat belts DOES NOT apply to:

School buses, Vehicles registered outside California, children exempted by court due to size, medical condition, or physical unfitness.

ALL DRIVERS: Are responsible for properly securing small children in safety belts (or child carrier seats) when transporting them in a vehicle when a child's parent is not present. All safety seats sold by California retailers must meet federal standards.

LIMOUSINE OPERATORS: Are required to wear a seat belt and secure any passengers that are four years or forty pounds with a seat belt.

Vehicle Code Section 27908 does not apply when the taxicab is driven on a city street.

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