A: Washington’s Child Restraint Law covers vehicle occupants up to the age of 16 years old. The upcoming changes are intended to apply up until the age of 13; when they can legally ride in the front seat of the vehicle. At this time, their body has had time to mature; their cartilage has strengthened to become more bone-like, intercostal muscles on rib cage are strengthening, fat is developing around their internal organs for protection, and their body has come into proportion of their head size. Law enforcement will be focusing on children 12 years and younger as they are more susceptible to injury in a crash.
If your child is under 16 and does not pass the 5-step test which ensures proper seat belt use; you may choose to have them continue with a booster seat.