Washington state takes safety seriously and that’s why a new law is being pushed through that could keep kids in booster seats through middle school. Yes, parents, your precious cargo could well be riding booster-style through the eighth grade.
If that sounds crazy to you, you’ll probably want to check out why State Governor Jay Inslee is pushing stricter car seat regulations. The new rules are closely aligned with the American Academy of Pediatrics statement on child passenger safety and will prevent injuries in older children associated with poorly fitted seatbelts.
Under the new law, all children under the age of 12 and shorter than four feet, nine inches to remain in a booster seat. House Bill 1012 requires that kids stay in booster seats until both the lap and shoulder belts fit properly which typically applies to kids eight to twelve. In addition, any child under the age of 13 must sit in the back seat––(sorry, tweens!).
Children two and under will have to remain rear-facing until they reach the required height and weight set by the seat manufacturer. Kids two to four can then ride forward facing until their reach booster height and weight requirements. 2 to 4 years of age can ride in forward-facing car harness seats until they reach the requirements for a booster seat.
The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020 and does not apply to buses, shuttles or for-hire vehicles. While this particular law is specific to Washington, we’d imagine the rest of the country is bound to follow suit in some way in the future.
And yes, we are acknowledging that while the safety of all kids is a priority, we can’t deny it might give the kids reason your kids want you to drop them off at school around the corner.