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Child car seats in the US

Child car seats in the US

Old Feb 9th 2011, 7:45 pm
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Default Child car seats in the US

This has probably been done before but I'm new on here and am trying to establish what the exact rules are on child car safety seats.

We are moving to the US in a few months. Our son has just grown out of his Stage 0+ car seat and we've bought the next size up. It wasn't a cheap purchase not least because we wanted to keep him rear facing for as long as possible (safer). My understanding was that the only circumstances in which you can take child car seats from the UK and use them in the US is if you are just there temporarily (e.g. a holiday). If you are living there then you can only use ones which meet the relevant US safety standards (so purchased in the US). Despite being tested against more rigorous criteria (and therefore arguably safer), European ones do not meet US safety standards as amongst other things Federal regulations require child car seats to have a chest clip and European ones do not have this. This came from someone who had apparently got into a row with the Florida Highway Patrol over the issue. But another friend who lives in the US thinks it sounds like nonsense.

So does anyone know the exact rules?

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Old Feb 9th 2011, 7:53 pm
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Default Re: Child car seats in the US

From what I've read it is supposedly illegal to use a UK car seat in the US unless it's a short period.

http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=133476

According to that you can import them but not use them which seems a bit odd to me. I know what you mean about not wanting to shell out for another one though, if anyone broke in to my car they'd ignore the stereo and grab they 2 child seats if they knew what they were doing.
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 7:54 pm
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Default Re: Child car seats in the US

http://www.infant-car-seats.com/seat-belt-laws.html
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 8:54 pm
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Default Re: Child car seats in the US

A lot of places are rather vague, such as the actual law saying that they must have "suitable restraints" and then their are some "guidelines" that are listed elsewhere that the police actually follow. It gets annoying when your children are unusually tall/light and the guidelines are more dangerous than just doing what makes sense. I've never heard of the police actually weighing or measuring children, so as long as it isn't too far off I can't see any issues.
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 11:19 pm
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Default Re: Child car seats in the US

I think it varies by state,
California rules
They are minimum but many people get a good convertible Britax and use it rear facing till the child reaches the max weight for the seat in that position.
So there are two and three year olds driving about rear facing.
My Dd is 6 and in a Recaro high back booster.
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 12:02 am
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Default Re: Child car seats in the US

The exact rules vary by each state, so it depends where you are going to be living.
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 1:45 am
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Default Re: Child car seats in the US

i put a link on each states car seat rules in the wiki

http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Child_...at_Regulations
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 3:30 am
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Default Re: Child car seats in the US

I don't know whether police would take an interest in where the seats were from, but a friend who used to be an insurance agent told us that in the event of an accident, an insurance company may make an issue out of it if they found UK booster seats being used.

The other thing to bear in mind is if you want to take the car seat to use on a plane it is supposed to have an FAA approved sticker on it. We did have ours checked a couple of times back when we used to fly with them. I don't know whether UK seats would have this...?
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 9:00 am
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Default Re: Child car seats in the US

Originally Posted by Yorkieabroad View Post
The other thing to bear in mind is if you want to take the car seat to use on a plane it is supposed to have an FAA approved sticker on it. We did have ours checked a couple of times back when we used to fly with them. I don't know whether UK seats would have this...?
Certainly all the ones I looked at last time we bought a seat knowing we'd be travelling had the E in a circle label. None of AA, Delta, or UA checked though, however their respective call centres told us they accept seats with those stickers (and a couple of other conditions relating to size and belts).
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 1:35 pm
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Default Re: Child car seats in the US

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
The exact rules vary by each state, so it depends where you are going to be living.
Yep - and it drives me nuts. You have to know not only the driving laws for your own state but also any other state you intend to drive into. I live in Maryland and regularly drive into neighboring states such West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware as well as Washington DC. It's possible to break driving laws in other states without knowing it - even though you know you are compliant in your home state. There's also no national standard on things like street/road signs and lane markings. This can be very confusing - even dangerous.

It would be much better to have national standards - this would also allow for a national licensing system (not currently possible because each state can set its own minimum driving age). Anyone who has ever gone to their local MVA (Motor Vehicle Adminstration) knows that you can spend the entire day there just trying to accomplish a simple task. Many of them are full of people who have moved from other states who need to switch their state license. With a national standard this task would simply become a change of address on a national license.
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 2:00 pm
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Default Re: Child car seats in the US

Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post
There's also no national standard on things like street/road signs and lane markings. This can be very confusing - even dangerous.
I don't understand this at all. Highways, byways, parkways and thruways all go under the Department of Transportation which uses the same lane markings and signs through the continuous US states.

Double solid lines; single solid lines; single broken lines; crosswalk lines; dangerous curve signs; speed limit signs; etc. are all uniform in the states I have driven through, i.e. NYS, VT, No.VA, DC, VA, MD, DE, NJ, CT, MA, ME, NH, and even Canada.

It would be much better to have national standards - this would also allow for a national licensing system (not currently possible because each state can set its own minimum driving age).
Just one more opportunity then for the federal government to screw things up.

Anyone who has ever gone to their local MVA (Motor Vehicle Adminstration) knows that you can spend the entire day there just trying to accomplish a simple task. Many of them are full of people who have moved from other states who need to switch their state license. With a national standard this task would simply become a change of address on a national license.
It is a one time visit so what is the problem? I've been to the local DVM in the past for a new photo for my license when it expired and never had longer than a one hour wait.
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: Child car seats in the US

Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post
Yep - and it drives me nuts. You have to know not only the driving laws for your own state but also any other state you intend to drive into. I live in Maryland and regularly drive into neighboring states such West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware as well as Washington DC. It's possible to break driving laws in other states without knowing it - even though you know you are compliant in your home state. There's also no national standard on things like street/road signs and lane markings. This can be very confusing - even dangerous.

It would be much better to have national standards - this would also allow for a national licensing system (not currently possible because each state can set its own minimum driving age). Anyone who has ever gone to their local MVA (Motor Vehicle Adminstration) knows that you can spend the entire day there just trying to accomplish a simple task. Many of them are full of people who have moved from other states who need to switch their state license. With a national standard this task would simply become a change of address on a national license.
It's hardly rocket science. Many people come to the US from other parts of the world and seem to cope with the different driving rules/laws.
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 2:33 pm
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Default Re: Child car seats in the US

Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post
You have to know not only the driving laws for your own state but also any other state you intend to drive into. I live in Maryland and regularly drive into neighboring states such West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware as well as Washington DC.
Can you cite a specific driving law that is different between... say, Maryland and West Virginia?

Ian
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 4:29 pm
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Default Re: Child car seats in the US

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
Can you cite a specific driving law that is different between... say, Maryland and West Virginia?

Ian
FWI, the classic was right turn against a red light. In 1970, I was pulled over by a traffic cop in Richmond, Virginia. Fortunately I had a military haircut rather than "hippie" locks and I deliberately handed my military ID along with my California Driver's Licenses. The cop told me that it was not allowed in Virginia and told me to be careful if I got sent to 'Nam.

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Old Feb 10th 2011, 4:52 pm
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Default Re: Child car seats in the US

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
Can you cite a specific driving law that is different between... say, Maryland and West Virginia?

Ian
There are lots. Here are just a few:

(1) Interstate speed limits (rural and urban) are different. Rural limits are higher in WV (70) than MD (65) - yet urban limits are higher in MD (65) than WV (55). There used to be a national speed limit but Congress scrapped it in 1995.

(2) WV does not currently have any cell phone or texting ban for drivers - MD does.

(3) You can start driving in WV at 15 - in Maryland you have to wait until 16.
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