How soon can a kid come out of the harness? Roadshow

Q: I was waiting at red light when l looked at the car next to me. A young child about 3 years old was sitting in a booster seat. Was this safe for the little boy or should he have been in a car seat?

Francis Chan, San Mateo

A: Parents, please heed this.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. In 2020, 90 kids aged 13 and under died as a result of crashes in California. While most parents and caregivers are confident they have correctly installed their child’s safety seat, when checked, almost half (46 percent) are found to be installed incorrectly.

California law requires all children under the age of 2, or who weigh under 40 pounds and are under 40 inches tall, to ride in a rear-facing car seat. All kids under 8 must ride in the back in an age-appropriate safety seat.  Safety experts recommend children ride in the back seat until the age of 13.

There’s no legal age for when a child can move from a car seat with a harness to a booster seat, but children are often transitioned out of appropriate car seats before it is safe to do so. More than a quarter of children are moved from forward-facing car seats to booster seats too soon. More than 90 percent of children using lap-and-shoulder seat belts under the age of 10 should still be in a car seat or booster seat.

Parents and caregivers are less likely to seek car seat inspections as children grow into forward-facing and booster seats.

This week, CHP child passenger safety technicians will provide free safety seat inspections, education, and hands-on training for parents and caregivers. These are also available year-round, by appointment, at any CHP office. To locate the nearest office, visit

Q:  What is going on with front license plates on Teslas? My husband is expecting to take delivery of a new Tesla later this month, so we have been noticing Teslas a lot lately.

In our estimation, at least 50 percent of Teslas do not have front  plates. Yet state law clearly states that a front plate is required. It’s hard to believe that 50 percent of Tesla owners are deliberate scofflaws.

Nan Reiley, San Jose

A: Vanity or ignorance, perhaps. Tesla front license plate mounting brackets are held on by a very strong doublesided adhesive tape, so you will not see any mounting holes and there is no need to drill them.

Q: There are many Tesla owners who believe that they do not have to mount front license plates because they don’t like the look of them. Too bad. That’s the law.

Peter Cohen, Pleasanton

A: Too bad indeed. It is the law.

Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat noon Wednesday at Look for Gary Richards at, or contact him at or 408-920-5335.




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Author: Gary Richards