What car seat do I need for my child in Illinois?

Car Seats Laws in Chicago and Illinois

Welcoming a new member in your family is as much an opportunity for celebration as it is an opportunity to get yourself educated about the ways to keep babies, toddlers, and children safe on the road. The steps we must follow to ensure children’s safety are not easy or uncomplicated especially for new parents who must get accustomed and follow safety laws and recommendations.


What car seat do I need for my child?

Let’s clarify some of the laws that regulate how we transport children in Illinois and prescribe what car seat parents should use for their children at any age.

Under The Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act all children under the age of 8 must travel in a car seat system appropriate for their height and weight.

Newborn babies

Effective Jan. 2019, Illinois law requires that newborn babies to 2 years of age be properly secured in rear-facing travel systems unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches tall.

When installing a rear-facing car seat follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure that the baby’s head is at least 1 inch below the top of the safety seat. Moreover, make sure that the harness clip is fastened snugly on the baby’s chest at armpits level. Most babies, especially premature ones will probably not fit very well in their new seats on their first ride.

In this case, you can use the positioning padding that comes with the car seat to help keep the baby in an upright position. Do not use other materials that did not come with the car seat as they were not tested for crash safety. When in doubt always consult your pediatrician or your Safe Kids local technicians for help on proper safety seat installation to fit your child’s unique needs and proportions.

Babies usually undergo a car seat test in the NICU before their very first car ride. Your neonatal department will place the baby in a 90-minute-long car seat test to measure the baby’s oxygen and to make sure there are no fatal risks associated with extended car rides.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants ride rear-facing until age 2 and even longer if they haven’t reached the weight and height limit because studies show that extended rear-facing is much better at protecting babies from severe injuries.

Ages 2T to 4T

It is widely recommended that you keep you, child, in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible, until age 3 ideally. After this stage, a forward car seat is recommended where the child is placed in a forward-facing car seat tethered to the anchors behind your car’s back seat.

Never place a car seat in front of active airbags, always place the car seat in the back-center seat of the car, and always check that the straps are snug at chest and armpits level. Please make sure to check the height and weight limits prescribed by your car seat manufacturer as they can vary depending on the make and model.

Ages 4T to 8T

Usually, children are kept in forward car seats for as long as 5 years depending on their growth spurts. After that, there are many options of belt-positioning booster seats for various sizes and ages.

At this stage it is important to make sure the car’s seat belt goes across the child’s chest, and not face or neck, and that the lap belt sits snuggly on the child’s upper thighs, not the stomach as this can cause serious injuries in a crash.


Do I need a car seat when traveling by Taxi, Rideshare, or Limo in Illinois?

It is illegal to let your child ride without appropriate child travel systems in any of these means of transport in Illinois.

Parents will be fined if spotted because the responsibility to provide car seats is placed entirely on the parents/caregivers in the state of Illinois. It is very likely that parents without car seats will be refused service or be charged extra for using the car seats provided by the taxis, limos, and rideshare vehicles and car rental companies. Ride In Bliss is the only car service company that assumes this responsibility and comes to the rescue of traveling parents to provide free of charge car seats to children of any age in Illinois.

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