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Hawaii's Car Booster Seat Law and Child Seat Law

Alamo: $10.99/day or up to $60 per rental maximum.
Avis: $13.00 per day or not to exceed $65 per rental
Budget: $13.00 per day or not to exceed $65 per rental
Dollar: $12.00 per day or up to $72 per rental maximum.
Enterprise: $8.95/day or up to $44.95 per week.
Hertz: $11.00/day.
Thrifty: $12.00 per day or up to $72 per rental maximum.

Hawaii Child Safety Seat Law

Consider bringing your own seats or purchasing on arrival at local Costco or other retail stores.

Hawaii state law requires that all children under age four be restrained in a federally approved child safety seat. A new law, in effect as of January 1, 2007, requires that children ages four through seven ride in a booster seat or car seat any time they are in a vehicle. The only exceptions are for children taller than 4'9" or those riding in vehicles with lap-only seatbelts in rear seats.

Beginning on January 1, 2007, Hawaii will be the 35th state to have a car booster seat law. The new law will require children between the ages of four through seven to ride in a booster seat whenever traveling in a motor vehicle. The only exemptions are if the child is over 4'9" or if the vehicle has lap-only seat belts in the rear seat.

A Hawaii State tax credit of $25 per year applies to the purchase of a booster or child safety seat.

The driver is held responsible for compliance with the law. Violators of Hawaii’s Child Passenger Restraint Law are required to attend a 4-hour class and may be assessed a fine of between $100-$500 depending upon the number of offenses. However, the most compelling reason for using a booster seat is the safety of your child.

Basic guidelines on the proper use of booster seats:

  • Use for children between the ages of four through seven, unless at least 4’9’’ tall. 
  • Use until the vehicle lap and shoulder belt fit correctly. (The lap belt should fit low and snug on their hips, and the shoulder belt should not cross over a child’s face or neck.) 
  • Never put the shoulder belt behind a child’s back or under their arm. 
  • A high back or low back booster with no shield may be used. 

Never Hold Your Infant Or Child In Your Lap.

  • A crash or sudden stop can result in a serious injury or even a fatality. 

Who should use a booster seat?

Each year, more than 700 children, between the ages of four through seven, are involved in major car crashes in Hawaii. Statistics show that children unrestrained by seat belts are at least 50% more at risk for injury than children in a child safety seat or booster seat.

The proper use of child passenger restraints, such as a booster seat, is the most important factor in preventing death and injury in a car crash. Seat belts are designed for older children and adults, not for children under the age of eight, whose size and physical development make seat belts less effective, and in some cases, unsafe.

A child under 80 lbs. is generally too small for an adult seat belt. The lap belt rides up over the stomach and the shoulder belt cuts across the neck. In a crash this can cause critical or even fatal injuries.

When children outgrow child restraints with a harness, between 40 and 65 lbs. depending on seat weight limit, they should be restrained in a booster seat until they are big enough to fit in an adult seat belt (approximately 80 lbs. and 4’9’’ tall).

A child who cannot sit with his or her back against the vehicle seat back cushion with knees bent over the vehicle’s seat edge without slouching, should use a booster seat — no matter what age, weight or height.

Using a booster seat can save your child’s life.

Governor Enacts New Traffic Safety Laws to Save Lives, Reduce Injuries May 20, 2013

News Release from Office of the Governor May 20, 2013

HONOLULU – With representatives of the state Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Health (DOH), county police departments and traffic safety advocates standing in support, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed into law two significant traffic safety bills that will save lives and reduce serious injuries from motor vehicle crashes in Hawaii.

“Hawaii is putting safety first on our roadways with the enactment of our state’s universal seat belt law; this measure closes the gap in protecting all passengers riding in a motor vehicle,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “In addition, the enactment of Hawaii’s distracted driving law establishes consistency across the state for the usage of mobile electronic devices while driving, simplifying enforcement and likewise making our highways and roadways safer.”

Senate Bill 4, relating to “Motor Vehicles” – Enacted as Act 73, this measure requires all front seat and back seat occupants to buckle up, effective immediately.  Adults and children must use their seat belts and child restraints at all times. Unrestrained back seat passengers were more than three times as likely to have injuries that were fatal or required hospitalization compared to restrained back seat passengers, based on DOH’s analysis of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) records. Additionally, among back seat passengers who were treated for injuries by EMS, average medical charges were nearly tripled among those who did not use seat belts ($11,043), compared to restrained passengers ($3,817).

“The Department of Health is pleased to see rates of passenger-related injuries going down based on high levels of seat belt use among front seat passengers,” said Health Director Loretta Fuddy. “We anticipate that we’ll see further reductions in injuries and death with the passage of this law for back seat passengers.”

House Bill 980, relating to “Highway Safety” – Enacted today as Act 74, this measure is effective July 1, 2013. While all counties have some form of a distracted driving ordinance in place, this measure establishes a state law that creates consistent requirements across all counties for the use of mobile electronic devices while driving and will simplify enforcement. Crash data from the DOT shows that during 2007, 32 percent (2,871 of the 8,770 collisions) were attributed to inattention to driving.

“People are injured or dying each year simply because they were not paying attention to the road. The possibility of causing a crash that could ruin lives is just too great,” said DOT Director Glenn Okimoto. “We are focusing on changing the behaviors of drivers through legislation, enforcement, public awareness and education – the same activities that have helped curb impaired driving and increased seat belt use. Our goal is to help drivers understand that texting, cell phone use, and other distractions behind the wheel can have dangerous consequences.”

The bill signings were held in conjunction with the DOT’s launch of the annual Click It or Ticket enforcemen

t campaign, a partnership between the state and counties with federal funding. During the national Click It or Ticket mobilization from May 20 to June 2 and throughout the year, police statewide will be continuing strict enforcement of the state seat belt and child passenger restraint laws.