Virginia Booster Seat Laws: What Every Parent Needs to Know

This article reflects the importance of Virginia Booster seat law which states that children who are under the age of 8 to sit in the booster seat. Moreover, it will highlight the importance of proper child restraint devices, the car seat installation process, and where to verify if it is correctly installed. We will also see various Virginia Booster seat law exceptions, such as medical or physical exceptions.


Several children die in car accidents or suffer from severe injuries in Virginia. In many cases of car accidents, it has been found that majorly the accident happens due to improper restraints on the child, which lead to devastating injuries. Taking proper precautions for a child’s safety; therefore, obeying the car seat law is recommended. Since a car accident can occur at any time, it doesn’t matter how defensive you are as a driver, and it’s essential to understand how children can be protected while they are going out to travel in the car or any other motor vehicle.

Choosing a car seat of the right type is quite essential. Children who suffer from minor injuries during a car accident can be protected from the damages by adequately installing the child safety car seat and seatbelt restraint. As per the CDC, when the car seat is installed correctly, it can reduce the injury rate from 71% to 82%. From this, we can evaluate that by adhering to car seat law, a child’s life can be protected from debilitating, life-threatening injuries that might occur due to car accidents.

Virginia Booster Seat Laws

As per the Virginia Booster seat laws,” Children above the age of 8 years can sit inside the booster car seat”. The booster does not contain any harness, and these are mainly designed to raise the child at a certain level so that the shoulder and lap belt fit correctly on the hip and chest region of the child. The all-in-one and combinations seats can be transformed into booster seats. However, some of the seats may only function like booster seats. The booster seats are further divided into two types:

1.    High back booster seat

This is ideal for automobiles that have no headrest or low back seat. It also provides support to the head and neck region of a child. This is to ensure that the seatbelt fixes appropriately.

2.    Backless booster seat

This type of car seat does not contain any additional backseat. Moreover, it does not provide support to the head or neck region. It only provides support when the car has a headrest.

Age and Size Requirements for Booster Seats

The children can ride in the booster seat if they are more than 8 years of age and until they reach the maximum height and weight as the Virginia government recommends. However, the weight and height limit must be correctly specified as it depends on the car seat used. Generally, the minimum height limit is 4 feet 9 inches; after that, the child can start using the seatbelt. The minimum age for booster seat Virginia is 8 years. The seatbelts are effective and safe to protect the child after they stop using the booster seat.

Virginia law requirements for booster seats

Once the child outgrows the forward-facing car safety seat, they can ride in the booster seat on the backside of the car until they reach the maximum height and weight to sit on the front side with the seat belt. Children not over eight years old should sit in the booster seat, as stated by the Virginia car safety seat Law. The children should use the booster seat until the seatbelt properly fits them.

Choosing the right booster seat based on your child’s age and size

Various types of car seats are available, so it becomes essential to select the right car seat based on the size and age of the child. If you want to know which car seat is suitable, you can visit the NHTSA’s car seat recommendations for children. Remembering a few things while choosing the booster seat Virginia would be best.

  • The first step is to choose the right type of car seat. After that, select the car seat that can fit inside the vehicle correctly, and the person can use it later.
  • To know more about the weight and height limit, you can look for the manufacturer’s instructions for the vehicle. The instruction manual also contains information related to the car seat installation.
  • It’s essential to use a tether, lower anchor and a seatbelt if available. To maximize the safety level, keep the child inside the car safety seat as long as the child can fit in correctly. Sometimes the child can use the booster seat till the age of 12.

Proper Use and Installation of Booster seat

The process of booster seat installation is essential for the child’s safety. The booster seat is usually installed on the backside of the car. It comes with two systems. Some vehicles may use seatbelts, and some use the LATCH system:

1.    The installation process with the use of a seatbelt

First, place the belt path and seat belt close. Check for the arrows so that you can insert the seat belt in the correct belt path. If you put the forward-facing car seat, use the top tether carefully.

2.    Installation with the LATCH system

It refers to the use of tethers and lower anchor for children. In this case, the car seat is connected with the help of a lower attachment to the lower anchor of the car. One important thing to consider here is the weight limit of the LATCH. Usually, the weight limit for the lower anchor is 65 pounds. It includes the child’s weight and the car seat’s importance. The label on the car seat will inform you about when you should switch to a seatbelt or stop using lower anchors.

Proper placement of booster seat in the vehicle

Proper management and placement of the car seat are essential for safety and to ensure the seat is fixed correctly. Here are a few tips which you can follow:

  • The booster car seats should always be on the car’s backside. If you have only a two-seater car, you need to place it on the front passenger seat, but you need to pull back the passenger seat to the back as much as possible.
  • As per the law by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it’s essential to ensure that if you use a booster seat, your car should contain the cut-off switch. These are used to disable the airbag.

Securing the child in the booster seat correctly

Ensuring your child is properly buckled up with the car seat is essential. Usually, the booster seat is placed on the backseat of the car, consisting of a shoulder and lap belt. Once you keep your child inside the seat, take the lap belt across the body so that the shoulder strap remains on the front side of the child. Ensuring that the shoulder and lap belt are correctly attached is essential.

Tips for ensuring proper booster seat use and installation

If you’re planning to use a booster car seat, always remember to read the instructions provided with the car manual properly, along with the installation process of the car seat. The booster seat comprises plastic clips often used to position the shoulder belt and vehicle lap. When you are using the booster seat then, ensure the following things:

  • Lap belt should stay low, and it goes across the upper thigh of the child
  • Shoulder belt must always cross the middle of the child’s chest.

Exceptions to Booster Seat Requirements

Buses, farm vehicles and limousines are exempted from following the Virginia Booster seat law. Children who fall under the age limit, as mentioned by the government, can also get an exemption from the law if they get a statement from the physician which states that it is impractical for the child to sit in the car seat.

When a child can legally ride without a booster seat in Virginia

Once the child reaches a height of more than 4”9’, they can sit on a regular car seat while using the seatbelt. However, it is recommended that for more safety of the child, they should sit inside the booster car seat as long as they can, even if they reach the upper weight or height limit.

Exceptions for medical or physical reasons

Virginia seat belt and child car seat rules have been applied to all motor vehicles which have been manufactured since the year 1968. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Most importantly, the school-bus and tax buses don’t have to follow the child car safety law. But the main exception is provided for children who have any disability and cannot sit inside the car seat. So, in that case, they need to get a certificate assigned by a medical practitioner such as a physician. Once they get the permit, they can sit inside the car however they want.

Penalties for Not Following Booster Seat Laws in Virginia

Violating the Laws comes with a penalty of the hefty amount of $50. If the person is found to be involved in the same incident for the second time or the subsequent time, even if the date is different, they need to pay a fine of $500.

Resources for Finding and Installing Booster Seats

To learn more about the car seat law in Virginia or the installation process of booster car seats, check out the official website of NHTSA. You will find everything from installing a car seat to finding the car safety inspection station near your house. Apart from this, you will also get user manual information to check the correct type of car seat for your child.

Other Virginia Car Seat Laws and Requirements

The booster seat Law and the Virginia car seat Law are implemented for various other children based upon majorly three factors: age, height and weight. To know more about this, you can refer to the Code of Virginia Chapter 10 Article 13. The various other Virginia car seat law includes:

  • Requirements for rear-facing car seats

Children should ride in the rear-facing child safety seat unless they reach 2 years of age. The weight limit for sitting in the forward-facing car seat is 20 pounds. But now, the newer seats can even handle the weight of up to 40 pounds, which is why the primary factor considered is age. NHTSA and the American Academy of Pediatrician’s recommended using a rear-facing safety seat until the child can fit inside the car seat correctly, even after exceeding the age of 2.

  • Requirements for forward-facing car seats

Once the child outgrows the rear-facing child safety seat, they should start riding in a forward-facing safety seat having 5 points harness. The harness is the car seat webbing portion, which gets over the child to hold them in the correct position. The child can only sit in the forward-facing car seat until they reach a certain weight and height, and they should have two years of age.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides more extensive information about booster child seat use. So overall, the main objective of implementing the Virginia car seat law is to increase the child’s safety and reduce the number of injuries that can happen during car accidents.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.    When can a child stop use a booster seat in Virginia?

A child can only sit in the booster seat until they reach a certain weight and height; the maximum age limit is eight years.

2.    Can I put my 4-year-old in a booster seat?

A child should be secured in a booster seat until they reach the age of 8.

3.    What is the DMV Virginia child seat law?

DMV Virginia child car seat law states that children who are seven years or younger in age to be secured in a booster seat or other child safety car seat. There has been no restriction on the weight and height of the children.

4.    Is a booster seat OK for a 7-year-old?

Yes, a 7-year-old is good to sit in a booster seat.

5.    What is a 5-point child seat? ​

The 5-point harness consists of five different attachment points specially designed to restrain the child at the hip and shoulder, which are the most solid part of the body. So that if any car crash happens, the harness will protect the child from any injury or falling from the car seat.

About The Author

Hassan Zaka

I am an expert in accounting and have diverse experience in technical writing. I have written for various industries on finance, business, and technology. My writing style is clear and simple, and I use infographics and diagrams to make my writing engaging. I can benefit any organization needing technical writing services.

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