A new law was passed in Washington State that went into effect on January 1, 2020. This affects the requirements for restraining children in child-specific safety seats while traveling in cars and trucks on Washington roadways. The new law requires all children under the age of two to sit in a rear-facing car seat until they exceed the height and weight limit set by the child seat manufacturer.
Between the ages of two and four, children must ride in a forward-facing seat with a five-point harness until they reach the height or weight limit of the seat.
Finally, all children under four feet nine inches must use a booster seat “until the vehicle lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly, typically when the child is between the ages of eight and twelve years of age, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, or must be properly secured with the motor vehicle's safety belt properly adjusted and fastened around the child's body.”
The law requiring that all children under the age of 13 sit in the back seat of the vehicle did not change—this is still required.
Drivers failing to adhere to these requirements can be ticketed with a traffic infraction. Though, speaking from first-hand legal experience, I have seen the real harms that can be caused when these laws are not followed. Children are just more susceptible to injury, and even death, when not properly restrained inside a vehicle.
Whether you're responsible for your own children or others' protect them by seeing that they are safely buckled inside your vehicle.