Any parent or guardian who will have to transport children in a vehicle in West Virginia must understand the importance of car seats. Children must be properly secured in their vehicles. Not only does this ensure the well-being of the child, but it is also the law. Here, we want to examine the car seat laws in West Virginia so you can remain legal and keep children in the vehicle safe.
What West Virginia Law Says About Car Seats
Current West Virginia law says that all children up to the age of eight years old must be adequately secured in a federally approved child safety seat. The only exception to this is if a child reaches the height of four feet and 9 inches tall before their eighth birthday. In these circumstances, the individual can use a regular seat belt instead of a car seat. When a child has reached this height, the seat belt should sit across their upper thighs, shoulder, and chest. It is important for parents not to allow the seat belt to sit across the child’s neck, face, or stomach. If it does, the child should remain in a booster seat, regardless of their height.
There is no law in West Virginia surrounding the use of booster seats for children. Federal guidelines, however, say that a child should remain in a booster seat until they are at least 40 pounds. Any child under the age of 13 should remain properly secured in the rear seats of a vehicle.
West Virginia law does not specifically say what type of child safety seat to use, but they recommend using rear-facing restraints for infants, forward-facing restraints for toddlers, and booster seats for older children in the vehicle.
In West Virginia, a child protective safety seat violation is a primary enforcement law, which means police officers can pull a person over if they suspect the child is not adequately restrained in a child safety seat.
Currently, parents who fail to adequately secure their children in an approved child safety seat can face a fine anywhere from $10 to $20 for a first offense.
How Car Seats Help
When we examine the information available from kidshealth.org, we can see that using a child safety seat is the best way to protect children when they are in a car. Car accidents are a leading cause of deaths and injuries in children. It is crucial for individuals to choose a car seat that meets or exceeds Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213, and this will be indicated on the car seat’s label. It is also important to ensure that the car seat is installed correctly.
We strongly encourage parents to look for a car seat fitting station, where a trained individual will help install the child safety seat properly.
Working With a Lawyer
If you have been involved in a vehicle accident and your child has sustained an injury, you may need to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. The number one priority is seeking medical care for your child, but an attorney can help ensure that you recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage expenses if another driver was at fault.
Jeffery Robinette was admitted to practice law in 1991 and is licensed in all levels of state and federal trial courts in West Virginia. Mr. Robinette is also licensed in all state and federal appeals courts in West Virginia and the United States Supreme Court. As a National Board Certified Trial Attorney who has handled hundreds of motor vehicle, injury, and construction defect claims and a leading author on insurance claims settlement issues and difficulties in West Virginia, Jeff Robinette is uniquely qualified to represent your best interest.