What are the Washington Car Seat Laws?


Welcome to the Washington Car Seat Law Explained in Simple, Plain English!


Are you looking for the current car seat laws in Washington? Then you have just found the perfect place to find them out.


I’m a mom of 3 little angels (mostly devils in the day), so I know how hard it is to keep track of all the laws and if you’re traveling, it makes it even harder.

Also, before having my kids, I used to be a paralegal. I know how to find the right laws in a jiffy and how to translate lawyer jargon, so everyone understands.

This is why I’ve put together this article to help you out. There’s nothing else to search for because I’m covering all the questions you may have about car seats.

So if you want to know the booster seat laws, when can you use forward-facing or the seat requirements with taxis, you will find the answers below and for other pressing questions.

Let’s get started already!



By reading this article you agree that it’s for informational purposes and I can’t be held liable for the best advice ask the appropriate person.


Washington Booster Seat Laws


The booster seat law in the state of Washington is quite clear. Your child has to be in a booster seat between the ages of 4 to 8 or until they reach 57” in height. However, the law permits the extended booster seat use up to the age of 12 if the child fits and it’s safe.


Washington Rear-facing Car Seat Laws

According to the rear-facing car seat law, your child has to be in rear facing mode until 2. Also, the law allows extended rear-facing beyond 2 years of age if your child didn’t reach the upper weight and height levels set by the manufacturer.


Washington Forward-facing Car Seat Laws

According to the forward-facing car seat law that, your child can sit in a forward-facing car seat after the age of two or when they have outgrown their rear-facing car seat. Again extended rear-facing is allowed if the car seat fits and your child didn’t reach the maximum levels set by the manufacturer for weight and height.


Washington Taxi Car Seat Laws

Taxis are exempt from the above-mentioned car seat laws in the state of Washington. However, if you want to keep your child safe, it’s advised to bring your own car seat.


When Can My Child Sit in the Front Seat in Washington?

According to the law, only kids above the age of 13 should be sitting in the front (if possible). There are special circumstances when you have no other choice.


Washington Car Seat Laws at a Glance

Here you can find the entire law in one place:

Car Seat Law (RCW 46.61.687)

Law: According to the law, this is how you should protect your kids:

  • If your child is under the age of 2, then they have to be secured with a rear-facing car seat. The limit for the rear-facing car seat is either the age of 2 or the height and weight requirements set by the manufacturer. Also, the law states that a child can stay longer than the age of 2 in a rear-facing car seat if they don’t reach the upper limits set by the manufacturer.
  • Suppose your child is under the age of 4 and the rear-facing car seat doesn’t fit, then you can upgrade to a forward-facing car seat until they reach the maximum requirements set by the manufacturer. Also, kids can stay longer in a forward-facing car seat even after the age of 4 if they are under the maximum allowed weight and height.
  • If your child has outgrown their forward-facing car seat and they are under 57” in height, then they can upgrade to a booster seat that is federally approved and meets the FMVSS 213. Also, kids can stay in a booster seat longer periods 8-12 years old if the belt fits properly. Or they can go without a booster seat if they reach the height of 57 inches.

Location in car: The law states that kids under the age of 13 have to be sitting in the back if it’s practical, as in there’s a back seat, it’s not occupied by smaller children and so on.

Taxi: Taxis are exempt from the car seat rules mentioned above. However, if you want to get the most safety possible, bring your own car seat.

RideSafer legal: Yes. The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older.

Fines: $124

Seat Belt Law

  • Law: According to the law, all occupants have to wear a seat belt in the vehicle.
  • Fine: $124
  • RVs: The RV’s law is the same as the seat belt law above. All occupants within the vehicle must wear the seat belt, and for kids, the car seat laws apply.


What is the law concerning Leaving kids in the Car in Washington?

It’s illegal in the state of Washington to leave a child (under the age of 16) alone in a car, and it’s considered a misdemeanor.


Is it Illegal to Smoke in a Car with a Child in Washington?

There are no laws that would regulate smoking in the presence of kids in a vehicle. However, I strongly suggest holding off smoking because secondhand smoke is known to create disease.


Conclusions on Washington Car Seat Laws

We have reached the end of this article. I hope you have learned everything you will ever need.  As I promised, I’ve kept things simple so anyone would understand how to keep their kids safe and avoid the fines.

If you happen to have further questions or tips, let me know, and I will get back to you.

Maybe you can help me out by sharing this post so other parents can know exactly how to keep their kids safe and avoid fines in the process. Thank You!

See more: Booster seat laws Idaho

Related: Oregon booster seat requirements


Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the car seat law in Washington State?

According to the car seat laws in Washington State, kids under the age of 2 have to be in a rear-facing car seat, ages 2 and 4 in a forward-facing car seat and ages 4 and 8 in a booster seat.

What is the weight requirement for a booster seat in Washington state?

The weight requirement for a booster seat in Washington state is 40 pounds.

Does a 7-year-old need a car seat in WA?

Yes, a 7-year-old will need a car seat (booster seat) in WA unless they have reached the height of 57 inches.

What are the requirements to sit in the front seat of Washington State?

Thirteen years of age is the main requirement for any child who wants to sit in the front in Washington state.

Who is a child passenger safety technician and what can they do?

A child passenger safety technician is a certified professional can help you pick the right car seats  for your motor vehicle let it be rear facing car seats, convertible car seat or booster seats. They can explain the washington’s seat belt law (child restraint law) in details. Plus they can show you how to properly install a child restraint system let it be a convertible car seat or booster seats. Also they can show you when you can ditch car seats and booster seats and upgrade to the safety belt system such as shoulder belt and seat belts. Btw anyone can do the child passenger safety program to get certified.

When can I use booster seats as a child restraint?

If your child has outgrown the convertible car seats or the forward facing car seats and meet the minimum requirements set by the car seat manufacturer then you can use booster seats either way they have to ride in the back seat until their 13th birthday. The passenger seating position is set for the back seat for kids younger than 13 years old.

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Brian Beasley

Written by Linda Reid

Hey there, I'm Linda, a mom of three cool kids. I've tried so many car seats, you could call me a "Car Seat Detective." Searching for the perfect car seat can feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but don't worry! I've committed to researching and reviewing car seats that are super safe, cozy, and great for growing kids. Together, we'll find the perfect car seat that keeps your child safe and cozy, and makes you feel like a super-parent!