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DC's Child Restraint Law

DC law requires that any child up to 16 years of age must be in a properly installed child safety seat or restrained in a seat belt. Children under 8 years of age must be properly seated in an installed infant, convertible (toddler) or booster child seat, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Booster seats must be used with both lap and shoulder belts.

The penalties for child safety seat and adult seat belt violations are as follows:

For Child Safety Seat Violations

The penalty for violating DC's child safety seat law is a fine of at least $75 and two points on the driver's license. This applies to any person operating a motor vehicle in the District of Columbia. The police can stop a driver in the District solely for not having a child properly restrained.

Motorists may contest the notice of infraction through the Department of Motor Vehicles, Adjudication Services. The following penalties are possible:

  • First Time: Offenders given choice of
    • Paying a $75 fine
    • Attending a Child Restraint Safety Class ($25 fee)
  • Second Time: Both penalties are mandatory
    • Paying a $75 fine and
    • Attending a Child Restraint Safety Class ($25 fee)
  • Third Time: Paying a $125 fine
  • Fourth or more: Paying a $150 fine

For Adult Seat Belt Violations

Failure to comply with adult seat belt laws can result in a $50 fine and two points on the driver's license. DC's seat belt law requires the driver and all passengers to be properly buckled up at all times, in the front and back seats. This requirement applies to passengers in all vehicles, including taxicabs. As with child safety seat violations, District law allows police to stop a vehicle solely because drivers and passengers are not properly buckled.

For further information, contact the MPDC's Traffic Safety and Special Enforcement Branch at (202) 727-4313.