Virginia Car Seat Laws

Beginner Info, Car Seat

virginia car seat laws
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In this post, I’ll walk you through various aspects of Virginia Car Seat Laws to help you in the best possible way that I can.

Moreover, I will also be responding to queries related to Virginia car seat laws in order to help you clear your doubts in the best possible ways that I can.

So, without any further ado, let’s begin…

It goes without saying that all parents should be well-versed and updated on car seat laws in their respective regions in order to prevent any unprecedented fines.

I totally agree that at times things can be quite complex and confusing.

However, we’ve tried to the best of our capabilities to provide the piece of information in the simplest form that I could.

In case of any queries or doubts, feel free to reach out to our core team via the contact form, and they would be more than happy to assist you in the best possible ways they could.

The simplified process that we’re gonna present to you is meant to save you time and effort.

Needless to say, the Virginia car seat laws aren’t only applied to Virginia’s residents but also the travelers who are passing through the region or are visiting it.

We at advise our clientele to check the car safety laws of any states that they are planning to visit or are passing by.

Rear-Facing Virginia Car Seat Laws

As of July 1, 2019, all children under 2 years old or below the minimum weight must be rear-facing.

Furthermore, the minimum weight is your car seat manufacturer’s minimum forward-facing weight.

Make sure your child is rear-facing if he or she is less than 2 years old.

At the same time, you must be aware of the fact that different car seats have different weight & height limitations for rear-facing.

In general, a rear-facing child safety car seat can handle weighing up to 35 to 40 pounds.

However, I’ll not deny the fact that there are certain rear-facing car seat brands that allow up to 50 pounds.

At the same time, your child must be 1 inch shorter than the top of the car seat for rear-facing as well.

Many of you wouldn’t be aware of the fact that the risk of death in a car accident for children below two years of age for front-facing is quite high.

On the contrary, in rear-facing mode, your child is comparatively safer, thanks to the head & neck support and protection from the impact that a rear-facing car seat provides.

This law is affected by the February 2007 enactment which states that rear-facing car seats MUST be in the back seat in order to reap maximum benefits.

However, in the absence of a back seat in your vehicle, you can put the rear-facing child safety car seat in the front seat but make sure there is no airbag.

Make sure either the airbag is deactivated or isn’t present on the passenger seat.

Rear-facing laws at a glance:

  • If your children are less than 2 years then irrespective of their gender they MUST be rear-facing
  • Moreover, if your child weighs less than the minimum weight limit of forward-facing then he or she MUST be rear-facing
  • Make sure your child’s rear-facing is in the back seat
  • If your vehicle lacks a rear-facing car seat, then you can put your child in the front passenger seat without an airbag

Forward-Facing Virginia Car Seat Laws

The July 2019 rear-facing law may affect children who face-forward if the child is under 2 years old.

[Also Read]

To be honest, this may affect children who face forward if they are under the minimum weight for forward-facing.

Well, if either of these things applies to your child then you don’t have an option but to turn your child rear-facing at the earliest in Virginia.

In Virginia, you can put your child on the front passenger seat or forward-facing if he or she is less than 2 years of age.

On top of that, your child should also meet the height and weight requirements for the front-facing set by the manufacturer.

In simple words, for your child to be forward-facing, he or she should weigh in the range of 20 & 40 pounds or be too tall for the rear-facing child safety car seat or BOTH.

The best way to find whether your child is ready for the forward-facing or not is to place her in the rear-facing and if she exceeds the weight limit or isn’t comfortable in terms of height then definitely forward-facing is a viable and only option.

If your child is less than 1 inch above her head to the top of the rear-facing car seat then she is enough tall to upgrade to forward-facing.

As per the February 2007 Virginia enactment, any child who is less than 8 years of age must be in a safety car seat.

Make sure you don’t transit your child directly from forward-facing to seat belt usage especially if he or she is less than 8 years of age.

Forward-facing laws at a glance:

  • Children over two years of age can be rear-facing if he or she doesn’t satisfy the minimum height and weight requirements for a forward-facing child safety car seat set by the manufacturer
  • A child who is less than 8 years of age must be in a child safety car seat

Virginia Booster Car Seat Laws

Since February 2007, children in Virginia who are less than 8 years of age must be in a restraint system of some kind.

Frankly speaking, this law affects booster seat usage, as quite a few parents transfer their children to seat belt riding too early.

Make sure you follow the guidelines for your car seat’s weights and heights.

To be honest, as far as I know, there isn’t any law in Virginia that specifically talks about the age at which a child can use a booster seat.

In general, most manufacturers recommend a minimum of 4 years for using a booster car seat.

Furthermore, your child can use a booster seat in Virginia even after 8 years of age if he or she wants to use it.

For safety, children should be at least 35 inches tall and 40 to 65 pounds before transferring to a booster.

Booster seats are available in two variants, that is, highback & backless options, depending upon what actually your child needs.

Moreover, kids who use backless boosters need to be able to sit properly in the seat.

Booster seat laws at a glance:

  • Any child who is less than 8 years of age must be either in a car seat or a booster seat
  • Booster seat guidelines for use must be followed

Fines and Penalties

The July 1, 2019, rear-facing law and the February 2007 enactment both fall under Virginia’s Child Restraint Laws.

Well, the aforementioned laws and any other law that falls under Child Restraints, are definitely considered primary enforcement.

What actually it means is that you’ll be fined for the first offense itself.

The first offense penalty is $50 which can increase up to $500 if you commit the offense again and again.

However, if your child is a special case and due to some medical reasons he or she can’t follow the Virginia car seat laws, then you must document the medical reasons.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay a fine of 20 dollars if a written exemption statement can’t be provided.

Moreover, the court will wave off the penalties in the case, that the family doesn’t have enough money to buy a child safety car seat.

The fines collected against the penalties are given to the Child Restraint Device Special Fund, which helps low-income families in securing child safety car seats.

Fines and Penalties at a glance:

  • First offense: $50
  • Second or more offenses: Up to $500

Car Seat Laws for Children with Special Needs In Virginia

Frankly speaking, Virginia doesn’t have any specific laws regarding children with special needs and transportation, but general child safety laws apply.

Well, special needs children who are younger than 2 years must ride rear-facing at all times after July 2019.

As per the Virginia car seat laws, a child who is less than 8 years of age must be in a car seat or a booster seat, since February 2007.

At the same time, parents need to ensure that the rear-facing child’s safety car seat is always in the back seat, it’s a non-negotiable law.

If your vehicle doesn’t have a back seat then in such circumstances you’re allowed to put the rear-facing seat in the front but make sure to disable the airbag if it is present.

The aforementioned changes were enacted in February 2007.

Specialized car seats that meet your child’s specific needs still must comply with Virginia’s general safety laws.

Moreover, every citizen of Virginia must follow car seat laws regarding weight and height limits.

Needless to say, the law also includes booster seat usage.

In case of any doubts or queries, feel free to reach out to us via the contact form or you can contact the manufacturer.

In Virginia, children with special needs must:

  • Rear-facing under 2 years of age
  • Either ride rear-facing in the back seat of the vehicle or in the front seat with the airbag disabled
  • Be in a car or booster seat till the time the child hasn’t crossed the 8 year mark
  • Follow Virginia car seat laws regarding weight and height limitations

Virginia Car Seats Laws for Public Transportation

To be honest, children do not need to be in a safety seat for public transportation in Virginia.

In general, children are required to use safety seats till the time they are less than 8 years of age and in non-public vehicles since February 2007.

Since 1997, children have needed car seats to ride in cars with family, babysitters, friends, and anyone who transports the child.

Kids between the ages of 8 and 17 must use a seat belt in vehicles produced after January 1, 1968.

Older children are exempt from this rule in these modes of public transportation: school buses, limousines, taxicabs, and executive sedans.

Children in Virginia do not need to be in a safety seat while riding in:

  • Buses
  • Farm vehicles
  • Regulation School Buses
  • Taxicabs
  • Other public modes of transportation

It goes without saying that the aforementioned rules are same for the children with special needs.

On the other hand, if your child needs restraint for public transportation then you can contact the public service in advance for more information.

To be honest, many school buses are equipped with the necessary resources to transport your child with or without child restraints.


In this section, I will be responding to the queries related to Virginia car seat laws in order to help you clear your doubts related to the laws in the best possible ways that we can.

Does it make sense?

When can a child go to a booster seat in Virginia?

In Virginia, children who are under 8 years of age must ride in a child car safety seat or a booster seat.

However, when your child surpasses the height and weight limits of a forward-facing car seat then he or she must transit to a booster seat.

There are no other laws or restrictions in Virginia for booster use.

What are the height and weight requirements for a booster seat?

Before transiting to a booster seat, your child should be at least 35 inches in height and/or weigh at least 40 pounds.

Make sure, your child transits only when he or she fulfills the minimum height and weight limits set by the manufacturer.

Can my 5-year-old ride in a booster seat?

Yes, your 5-year-old child can ride in a booster seat only if he or she is taller than 35 inches and weighs more than 40 pounds.

At what age can a child use a backless booster seat?

Any child who has crossed the weight and height limits of a front-rear car seat can transit to a backless booster seat.

Well, for a backless booster seat, a child must be old enough to sit up and wear the seatbelt properly.

This usually happens around 5 to 6 years of age.

How long does a child have to be rear-facing in Virginia?

Following July 1, 2019, children who are under 2 years of age must be rear-facing.

Even though your child has crossed the age limit for a rear-facing but hasn’t crossed the weight and height limits of a rear-facing then he or she MUST be rear-facing.

It’s A Wrap

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for being with us till the end.

Secondly, I would like to bring to your notice that I along with my core team have put loads and loads of effort into coming up with this idiosyncratic superlative piece of information.

And, in case, you like our effort and want to appreciate us then please do share this post with like-minded people and the ones who are searching for it.

After all, sharing is caring, isn’t it?

Virginia car seat laws are uniquely designed to keep your child safe and secure.

The local police team is responsible for the enforcement of the Virginia car seat laws.

In order to avoid fines and penalties, you must be well aware of Virginia car seat laws.

That’s all, as of now :):)