The Illinois law regarding the use of child restraint systems changed in 2004. The new law contains some age changes and an addition pertaining to a child's weight. The information on this page contains the most recent requirements.
CHILD RESTRAINT LAW
The Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act requires anyone who transports children in Illinois in non-commercial vehicles to do so in the following manner:
Children under age 8 must be secured in an approved child restraint system, more commonly known as a child safety seat. Child safety seats include infant 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.
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. If there is a lap and shoulder belt system, the child must be in a booster seat.
Children ages 8 through 15 must be secured either in a safety seat or by a safety belt in any position in the vehicle.
The parent or legal guardian of a child under the age of 8 years is responsible for providing a child safety seat to anyone who transports his or her child.
Every person under the age of 18 years who transports a child 8 years of age and older (up to 18 years) is responsible for securing that child in a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt.
According to the Illinois Graduated Driver Licensing System, if the driver is 16 or 17, the above passenger restraint requirements extend to all passengers under the age of 19, rather than 18. (New requirement as of January 1, 2006.)
Those found in violation of the law the first time will be fined $50, which is waived upon proof of possession of an approved seat. The fine for subsequent violations is $100.
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 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's web site has plenty of additional information relating to child safety seats, including a usage chart (which includes weight considerations) and a One Minute Safety Seat Checklist.
PLEASE NOTE: It is nationally recommended that all children age 12 and under ride in the back seat.
SEAT BELT LAW
Illinois law requires that safety belts (seat belts) must be worn by all drivers and front seat passengers 8 years of age and over, even if the vehicle has air bags. It is the responsibility of the driver to see that all front seat passengers ages 8 thru 15 obey this law. Anyone found guilty of disobeying this law may have to pay $25 for the fine plus court costs.
If the driver is under age 18, the number of passengers is limited to one in the front seat and to the number of safety belts in the back seat(s). Exceptions are motorcycles and second division vehicles containing only a front seat. In a second division vehicle, more than one passenger is allowed, provided that each passenger is in a properly secured safety belt. In addition, if the driver is under age 18, all passengers under age 18 must wear safety belts. Violators of this law may have to pay up to $25 in fines and court costs.
Anyone with questions can either contact the Vernon Hills Police Department Traffic Unit at (847) 362-4449 x 4832 or send an e-mail.