Washington state has two laws that govern the use of seat belts and children riding in vehicles. Below is a brief description of each law. If you would like the complete text of the law, click the icon below each description.
Washington's child restraint law requires:Print or download a fact sheet about the law and how to protect child passengers.
- Children under 13 years old are to be transported in the back seat where it is practical to do so.
- Children up to their 8th birthday, unless they are 4'9" tall (which ever comes first), must use a child restraint.
- The restraint system must be used correctly according to the car seat AND vehicle manufacturer's instructions.
- Vehicles equipped with lap-only seat belts are exempt from the requirement to use a booster seat for a child weighing more than 40 pounds.
- Children 8 years of age or at least 4'9" who wear a seat belt MUST use it correctly (never under the arm or behind the back) or continue to use a child restraint.
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines for both the child restraint and the vehicle.
Washington’s seat belt law requires:
- All vehicle occupants must be properly restrained in all seating positions.
- The driver is responsible for properly securing all children under the age of 16.
- Passengers 16 years of age and older are responsible for themselves and may receive their own citation if they are not properly restrained.
- Buckling one seat belt around two people or placing the seat belt under the arm or behind the back is dangerous, can cause death or serious injury and is a violation of the law.