Child Passenger Protection

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The following is the Child Passenger Protection Law and some changes which went into effect January 1, 2004:

1. Children under the age of eight (8) years must be secured in an appropriate child restraint system; more commonly called a child safety seat. Child safety seats include infant's seats, convertible seats (rear-facing for infants and forward facing for toddlers) and booster seats that are used with the vehicle lap and shoulder belt system.

2. Children weighing more than 40 pounds may be transported in the back seat of a motor vehicle while wearing only a lap belt if the back seat is not equipped with a lap and shoulder belt system for booster seat installation.

3. Children and young people eight (8) and up to sixteen (16) years of age must be secured in a properly adjusted safety belt regardless of their seat position in the vehicle.

4. The parent or legal guardian of a child under the age of eight (8) years is responsible for providing a child safety seat to anyone who transports his or her child.

5. Every driver under the age of eighteen (18) years who transports a passenger eight (8) years of age or older but under the age of 18 years old is responsible for ensuring that the passenger wears a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt. (This is addition to compliance with item #1)

Children with physical disabilities that prevent the use of standard safety seats are exempt from the provisions of the law if the disability is duly certified by a physician.

The following is the actual law, which went into effect January 1, 2004:
Section 5. The Child Passenger Protection Act is amended by changing Sections 2, 4, 4a, 4b, and 5 as follows:

(625 ILCS 25/2) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 1102)
Sec. 2. Legislative Finding - Purpose. The General Assembly finds that a substantial number of passengers under the age of 8 years riding in motor vehicles, which are most frequently operated by a parent, annually die or sustain serious physical injury as a direct result of not being placed in an appropriate child passenger restraint system. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children of every age from 4 to 14 years old. The General Assembly further finds that the safety of the motoring public is seriously threatened as indicated by the significant number of traffic accidents annually caused, directly or indirectly, by driver distraction or other impairment of driving ability induced by the movement or actions of unrestrained passengers under the age of 8 years. It is the purpose of this Act to further protect the health, safety and welfare of motor vehicle passengers under the age of 8 years and the motoring public through the proper utilization of approved child restraint systems. (Source: P.A. 83-8.)

(625 ILCS 25/4) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 1104)
Sec. 4. When any person is transporting a child in this State under the age of 8 years in a noncommercial motor vehicle of the first division, a motor vehicle of the second division with a gross vehicle weight rating of 9,000 pounds or less, or a recreational vehicle on the roadways, streets or highways of this State, such person shall be responsible for providing for the protection of such child by properly securing him or her in an appropriate child restraint System. The parent or legal guardian of a child under the age of 8 years shall provide a child restraint system to any person who transports his or her child. Any person who transports the child of another shall not be in violation of this Section unless a child restraint system was provided by the parent or legal guardian but not used to transport the child. For purposes of this Section and Section 4b "child restraint system" means any device which meets the standards of the United States Department of Transportation designed to restrain, seat or position children, which also includes a booster seat. A child weighing more than 40 pounds may be transported in the back seat of a motor vehicle while wearing only a lap belt if the back seat of the motor vehicle is not equipped with a combination lap and shoulder belt. (Source: P.A. 88-17.)

(625 ILCS 25/4a) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 1104a)
Sec. 4a. Every person, when transporting a child 8 years of age or older but under the age of 16, as provided in Section 4 of this Act, shall be responsible for properly securing that child in seat belts.
(Source: P.A. 92-171, eff. 1-1-02.)

(625 ILCS 25/4b)
Sec. 4b. Children 8 years of age or older but under the age of 18; seat belts. Every person under the age of 18 years, when transporting a child 8 years of age or older but under the age of 18 years, as provided in Section 4 of this Act, shall be responsible for securing that child in a Properly adjusted and fastened seat safety belt or an appropriate child restraint system. (Source: P.A. 90-369, eff. 1-1-98.)

(625 ILCS 25/5) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 1105)
Sec. 5. In no event shall a person's failure to secure a child under 8 years of age in an approved child restraint system constitute contributory negligence or be admissible as evidence in the trial of any civil action.
(Source: P.A. 86-1241.)

Below is a chart to aid you in safety seat use:

Proper Child Safety Seat Use Chart
Buckle-Up Everyone! Remember Children 12 and under in the back.

 

INFANTS

TODDLER

YOUNG CHILDREN

WEIGHT

Birth to 1 year
at least 20-22 lbs.

Over 1 year and
Over 20 lbs.-40 lbs. Over 40 lbs.

Ages 4-8

TYPE of SEAT

Infant only or rear-facing convertible

Convertible / Forward-facing

Belt positioning booster seat

SEAT POSITION

Rear-facing only

Forward-facing

Forward-facing

ALWAYS MAKE SURE:

Children to one year and at least 20 lbs. in rear-facing seats
Harness straps at or below shoulder level

Harness straps should be at or above shoulders
Most seats require top slot for forward-facing

Belt positioning booster seats must be used with both lap and shoulder belt.
Make sure the lap belt fits low and tight across the lap/upper thigh area and the shoulder belt fits snug crossing the chest and shoulder to avoid abdominal injuries

WARNING

All children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat