When you’re planning a family trip to Virginia, it’s important that you make sure to follow local (or exceed) the child passenger safety laws.
Official Virginia Car Seat Laws
You can find the official Virginia car seat law in Code of Virginia Chapter 10 Article 13.
Virginia Rear-Facing Car Seat Law
Virginia rear facing car seat law requires children to remain rear facing (either in an infant car seat or a convertible car seat) until at least 2 years old.
Rear-facing is significantly safer for children as it dramatically decreases the risk of head and neck injuries. This resource is full of great information.
The current guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics is that children should remain rear-facing to the limits of their convertible car seat. Nearly all convertible car seats today will accommodate kids up to 40 pounds (they have variable height limits so read your manual) – the size of an average 4 year old – rear facing.
Though it’s not specified by the law, research indicates that kids should continue riding in a harnessed car seat (whether rear-facing or forward-facing) until at least age 5, 40 pounds and mature enough to sit properly for the whole drive.
VA car seat law recommends that children ride in a harness car seat until they reach the maximum height or weight specified by the manufacturer, though there is no age requirement.
Virginia Booster Seat Law
Virginia’s law for booster seats requires children to ride in a booster seat (or harnessed car seat) until they reach 8 years old. Be sure to follow manufacturer minimum and maximum size requirements for your booster seat – most manufacturers now require a minimum of 4 years old, 40″ tall and 40 pounds.
Most children do not fit properly in an adults seatbelt until 10-12 years old, when they pass the 5-step test.
When Can Kids Ride In the Front Seat In Virginia?
There’s no law in Virginia on when kids can ride in the front seat (other than specifying that rear-facing car seats should go in the back), but many car manufacturers specify that kids should not ride in the front until age 13. Here’s an excellent explanation of why.
Upcoming Changes To Virginia Car Seat Law
In 2019, Virginia began requiring children to ride in a rear-facing car seat until age 2. As of this writing, there are no further updates to VA car seat laws on the horizon.
Get the latest from Virginia Department of Health
If you’ll be flying to Virginia, be sure to bring one of these travel car seats. If you’re planning a family road trip, consider one of these comfortable convertible car seats or comfortable booster seats. Check more car seat laws by state as you plan your route.