Safety Tips

Car Seat Law

Arizona Requires Child Restraints

By Judy Hedding,

Arizona law requires that children in vehicles must be properly restrained. Title 28 of Arizona Revised Statutes deals with Transportation. Here are the statutes that apply to child restraints. I will either paraphrase or repeat the important parts of the statutes.

ARS 28-907 (A) and (B) 
A driver shall not operate a motor vehicle in Arizona when transporting a child who is under five years of age unless that child is properly secured in a child passenger restraint system. There is no weight limitation on this law. The child passenger restraint system used must be in conformance with the requirements established by Arizona law.

ARS 28-907 (C) 
If you are stopped and it is determined by the police officer that there is a child under five years of age in the vehicle that is not properly restrained, the officer will issue a citation which results in a $50 fine. If the person shows that the vehicle has been subsequently equipped with a proper child passenger restraint system, the fine will be waived.

ARS 28-907 (G) 
The following situations are exempt from this law: Motor vehicles originally manufactured without seat belts (prior to 1972), recreational vehicles, public transportation, buses, school bus, transporting a child in an emergency to obtain medical care, or the situation where there is not enough room in the vehicle to put in child restraint systems for all the children in the vehicle. In the latter case, at least one child must be in a proper restraint system.

Actually, the fine you receive could be much higher than $50, because the city in which you are stopped adds their fines and fees to the process. A citation for this violation could cost you up to $150!

There are several types of restraint systems, depending on the weight and age of the child.

Infant Seats 
Birth to age one, designed for children from 7 to 20 pounds 
Infants should be in a reclined infant car seat or convertible seat in the infant position to protect the delicate neck and head. All straps should be pulled snugly. The car seat must face the rear of the car and should never be used in a front seat where there is an air bag. The infant must face the rear so that in the event of a crash, swerve, or sudden stop, the infant’s back and shoulders can better absorb the impact. Household infant carriers and cloth carriers are not designed to protect an infant in a car and should never be used.

Convertible Seats 
7 to 40 Pounds 
The convertible car seat is placed in a reclined rear-facing position. After children reach at least 1 year and 20 pounds, the convertible seat can be turned forward and placed in the upright position in the back seat of the vehicle.

Booster Seats 
40 to 60 Pounds 
When a child reaches about 40 pounds she will outgrow the convertible seat. Either a belt positioning (backless) or high-back booster seat can be used with a lap/shoulder belt in the back seat of the vehicle.

Buckle Up Baby Campaign 
If you see a vehicle transporting a child under the age of 5 who is not properly restrained, you are encouraged to call the "Buckle Up, Baby" hotline: 1-800-505-BABY. When calling, leave the following information: 
1. Vehicle license number and state 
2. Where the vehicle was seen 
3. Where the child was sitting in the vehicle

The purpose of the program is not to punish, but rather to inform. When the Police Department receives this information from you, they will send a packet of information to the owner of the vehicle. The materials describe the hazards of transporting unrestrained children under the age of 5, and encourages the owner to purchase a child restraint system. No one else is notified, and the car owner doesn't get in any trouble and is not fined. It is hoped that they will use the information to obtain the proper equipment for the vehicle and the child.

Arizona participates in a program entitiled "Children Are Priceless Passengers" whereby for $25 you can attend a two-hour training session on child seat safety. The C.A.P.P. Program offers child safety seat classes at locations around the Valley. Classes are instructed by NHTSA certified technicians. If you have received a citation for not having your child properly restrained, you may have some or all of the violation removed after attending the class. If you don't own a car seat, you might be given one at the training session. Sessions are avaliable in English and Spanish at the folowing locations:

Mayo Clinic, 480-342-0300 
5777 E Mayo Blvd., Phoenix

Tempe St. Luke's, 480-350-8376 
1500 S. Mill Ave., Tempe

Desert Samaritan, 602-230-2273 
1400 S. Dobson Rd., Mesa

Thunderbird Samaritan, 602-230-2273 
5555 W. Thunderbird Rd., Phoenix

St. Joseph's, 602-406-2277 
350 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix

Please call the location nearest to you for specific information.

If you have a child visiting, you can rent appropriate safety equipment at rental centers that carry baby equipment, like cribs and high chairs.

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