Skip to content

American Insurance NW Inc. Blog

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Insurance

Washington car seat law has changed for 2020

Changes to Washington’s child passenger restraint law (RCW 46.61.687) began on Jan. 1, 2020. 

Car crashes are a leading killer of children ages 1-13.  Using the right seat can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent.  The Washington Traffic Safety Commission is working to educate parents and caregivers about changes in the law and the correct installation and use of car seats, booster seats and seat belts. 

To keep your children and grandchildren safe, please read these revised car seat regulations:

 1. Children up to age 2 must be properly secured in a rear-facing car seat.
 2. Children ages 2-4 must be properly secured in a car seat with a harness (rear or forward facing).
 3. Children 4 and older and less than four feet nine inches tall must be secured in a booster seat with seat belt (or continue in harness seat).
 4. Children over height four feet nine inches must be secured by a properly fitted seat belt (typically starting at 8-12 years old).
 5. Children up to age 13 must ride in the back seat when practical to do so.
 6. Child restraint system must comply with U.S. DOT standards and be used according to vehicle and child restraint manufacturer.

Cesi Velez, Project Manager for Washington’s Child Passenger Safety Program, expressed excitement about the upcoming changes. “We are moving in the right direction. One thing I want parents to understand is that the law provides the minimum requirements of safety for children in the car. Safety experts recommend a child should remain in each stage of restraint until they reach the maximum height and weight based on the manufacturer’s instructions, for the best protection.”

Car seats can be very confusing, resulting in significant misuse. There are car seat inspection services throughout Washington. Velez said, “Dedicating approximately 30 minutes for an inspection could save your child’s life.”

There are five nearby locations for child car seat inspections, including:

  • St. Joseph Regional Medical Ctr/Family Beginnings, 415 6th St., Lewiston, ID 83501. Contact Hannah Neiberts or Darla Villopoto at (208) 799-5430. By appointment only.
  • Asotin County Health Department, 431 Elm St., Clarkston, WA 99403. Contact Diane Rousseau at (509) 758-3344. Please call to schedule an appointment.
  • Gritman Medical Center Family Birth Center, 700 S Main St., Moscow, ID 83843. Contact Krista Brinkley at (208) 883-2229. Wednesdays, by appointment only.
  • Moscow Police Department, 118 E 4th St., Moscow, ID 83843. Contact Meagan Vincello at (208) 883-7128 or Eric Warner at (208) 882- 2677. Appointments preferred; walk-ins possible. 
  • Success by 6 of the Palouse, 110 S Jackson St., Moscow, ID 83843. Contact Patricia Bellmore, Raechel Medina, or Karen Johnson at (208) 882-7387. By appointment only
  • Find more locations at the bottom of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Car Seats and Booster Seats page.

For more information, visit  Parents can also find additional information at

Sources: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Car Seats and Booster Seats page and Changes to Washington’s Child Restraint Law Focus of Child Passenger Safety Week