The state of Arizona legally requires all children under the age of 5 years old and children under the age of 8 years old who are shorter than 4’9” to be secured in a child-restraint system.
The law does not specify type of child seat by age, but they do have recommended guidelines for child safety.
Car Seat Requirements Arizona
Rear-Facing Car Seat Law Arizona
There is no legal specification for how long a child must ride in a rear-facing car seat in Arizona.
Arizona law only dictates all children under 5 years old and children under 8 years old who are shorter than 4’9” be secured in a child seat of some kind.
Rear-Facing Car Seat Age: 0 years
Rear-Facing Car Seat Weight: unspecified
Rear-Facing Car Seat Height: unspecified
However, the state does provide safety guidelines for when you should use a rear-facing car seat.
Rear-Facing Car Seat Guidelines Arizona
- Rear-Facing Car Seat Age: 2 years
- Rear-Facing Car Seat Weight: unspecified
- Rear-Facing Car Seat Height: unspecified
There are no car seat rules in Arizona regarding height and weight limit for rear-facing car seats.
Instead, the state advises keeping children rear-facing until age 2 or until they reach the height or weight limit on their rear-facing seats.
Forward-Facing Car Seat Law Arizona
Children must ride in a front-facing car seat (or rear-facing car seat or booster seat) in Arizona until they reach BOTH of the following requirements:
- Forward-Facing Car Seat Age: 5 years (8 years old if the child is shorter than 4’9”)
- Forward-Facing Car Seat Weight: unspecified
- Forward-Facing Car Seat Height: 4’9”
All children under 5 years old in Arizona are required to be secured in a car or booster seat, regardless of height.
Children older than 5 years old must remain in a car or booster seat until they reach either 8 years old or 4’9” tall.
Front-Facing Car Seat Guidelines Arizona
While Arizona does not specify an age or height to which children must legally ride in a front-facing car seat (a booster seat is also legal), they do recommend keeping a child in a front-facing car seat with separate harness until the child reaches the maximum height or weight limit on the car seat or until at least 4 years old.
- Forward-Facing Car Seat Age Guideline: 4 years
Arizona Car Seat Exemptions
Arizona’s car seat laws do not apply under several conditions.
These conditions are:
- When the vehicle the child is riding in was manufactured without seatbelts or restraint devices.
- When the vehicle is a recreational vehicle.
- When the child is being transported for emergency medical care.
- When you are transporting multiple children of car seat/booster seat age, and all seatbelts are in use with other car seats or booster seats.
Where can I get my car seat checked or installed in Arizona?
Car seat installations and checks are done on a local basis in Arizona.
Many police departments, fire departments, and health departments across the state have certified Child Seat Safety Technicians on staff who can help you install a car seat (or check your installation) by appointment.
To find your local Car Seat Inspection Station, visit the website of your city or county.
- Here’s a list of fitting stations for Phoenix.
- And here’s a list of inspection stations in Tucson.
General Car Seat Laws FAQ
Are car seats effective?
According to the CDC, “car seat use reduces the risk for injury in a crash by 71-82% for children, when compared with seat belt use alone.”
What’s the best car seat?
Different types of car seats (infant, convertible, etc.) have different uses.
But, no matter what type of car seat you’re using, the best car seat is the one that will do the most effective job of keeping your child safe in the event of an accident.
See Which Car Seat To Buy: Making Sure Your Little Ones Stay Safe On The Road for our recommendations.
How do you install a car seat?
Car seat installation varies depending on whether the seat is being installed rear- or forward-facing and the manufacturer of the seat.
For help installing a rear-facing car seat, see Passenger Safety For Babies at Safe Kids Worldwide.
And for help installing a forward-facing car seat, see Passenger Safety For Little Kids at Safe Kids Worldwide.
Does AAA do car seat inspections?
Yes, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has certified child passenger safety technicians on staff.
If you are a member of AAA, you can have your car seat installation inspected for free (when available in your area).
Go to AAA.com/carseats to make an appointment for inspection.
When were car seats invented?
Two precursors to car seats as we know them today were both invented in 1962. (Though, they weren’t available until the late-60s.)
The first of these seats, and the one most similar to the car seats we use today, had a Y-shaped harness and was rear-facing.
The seat was invented by British inventor (and mother) Jean Ames.
The second of these seats was metal-framed seat designed to face forward, and was invented by American inventor Leonard Rivkin.
Before that, the only type of child seat for cars were booster-style car seats, which simply lifted children higher in the seat, but had no safety features and had been manufactured since the 1930s.
When did car seats become mandatory?
Car seats became mandatory between 1978 and 1986.
Though car seats were available in the late 1960s, and the data showing their effectiveness was available in the early 1970s, they remained optional safety devices, and most parents didn’t opt to use them.
So, it became a matter of enacting laws.
In the U.S., car seats became mandatory as most things do – on a state-by-state basis.
In 1978, Tennessee became the first state to enact a child restraint law of any kind (the law passed in 1977), a successful campaign that prompted other states to follow suit.
Over the next few years, all U.S. states passed and implemented child restraint laws, with all states enacting laws by 1986.
Who is responsible for child restraint laws in the U.S.?
While there were experts and activists all over the country working to pass child restraint laws, Dr. Robert Sanders and his wife Pat are largely credited with getting the first Tennessee law passed.
Dr. Sanders was a pediatrician and he and his wife lobbied for the legislation for years.
Dr. Sanders even got a moniker out of his activism.
He became affectionately known as “Dr. Seat Belt.”
Car Seats Save Young Lives
Car seats are designed to protect the smallest, most vulnerable of children, and, since car seat rules first went into effect nationwide in the mid-1980s, they have done a stellar job at saving kids’ lives.
That’s why car seats are required in every state in the U.S. up to a certain age (with some states also having booster and front seat laws), and why the American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC recommend using some form of child restraint system in vehicles until children are big enough to be protected by a car’s built-in safety features (4’9”).
So, definitely follow Arizona’s car seat laws to protect the smallest of children.
And continue to follow the booster and front seat laws (or expert guidelines) to ensure your child is well-protected on the road.
For more on Arizona’s booster seat laws, see Arizona Booster Seat Laws.
For more on Arizona’s front seat law, see Arizona Front Seat Law.