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When Others Question RideSafer Legality

RideSafer is legal child restraint

How do you respond in the situation?

During the last four years of marketing and selling the RideSafer vest, consumers have often pondered the legality of the vest. It’s no wonder, I mean, how can this little vest thing be legal when all other car seats are big, bulky, heavy and plastic?

We’ve shared with customers the details about how the RideSafer does meet federal standards for car seat safety and how it is a certified vest.

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Just in the last few months, two customers have made us aware of two incidents where the parents were told the vest was illegal by, well, let’s say uninformed people:

  • one a police officer (not during a traffic stop, a customer went to the department to ask) who told the parent the RideSafer was not a legal child restraint in their state. In fact, if you read the state statute, the RideSafer is a legal child restraint in that state. (You can view a list of state statutes here.)
  • one a rental car sales person who didn’t recognize the RideSafer as a legal child restraint and required the parents to rent a car seat through their car rental before they’d let them leave the lot.

Now this is just two scenarios our customers  experienced out of the thousands of vests sold and used during the last 12 years the RideSafer has been available. And both were due to lack of information the uninformed person had at the time.

We want to make sure you know how to answer if someone ever questions you about using the RideSafer and the legality of the vest.

First and foremost, use the vest according to manufacturer’s specifications and instructions, that is a prerequisite of the law in most states. The minimum requirements for the RideSafer is 3 years old and 30 pounds.

Secondly, you can show the RideSafer is a certified seat by showing the label inside the vest which has the federally required text stating, “This child restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles. Also it conforms to each country’s relevant safety standards.” And to the side of that it has an applicable safety standards section where US federal standard for child restraints, FMVSS213, is listed.

This states the manufacturer has tested and certified the product to be meet or exceed the federal motor vehicle safety standards. That means the RideSafer IS legal.

(We do advise if you are questioned and ticketed during a traffic stop, accept the ticket. By the way, this has never happened as far as we are aware. Contact us and we will provide you with information to argue the ticket in court.)

Watch the video for more!

Let us know if you have any questions. Share your comments below.

By Greg Durocher, CEO at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Technician Instructor since 2002

Copyright 2016 Safe Ride 4 Kids. All rights reserved. You may not publish, broadcast, rewrite or redistribute this material without permission. You are welcome to link to Safe Ride 4 Kids or share on social media.


  1. Does the plastic and padding (surrounding children ) used for traditional type car seats add to their safety in crashes?

    1. Hello Janice, Thanks for asking. Unfortunately, like many things, the most accurate answer is, “it depends”. It depends what type of crash you are involved in and what kind of “traditional” car seat you are referring to. One could consider the backless booster a “traditional” car seat and it offers no “plastic and padding (surrounding children)” but I would assume you are referring to a “conventional 5 point harness” car seat in your question. So now the question becomes “what type of crash are we talking about?”

      The most common type of crash is the frontal impact, i.e. our vehicle running into something else. (Of course 90% of people consider themselves above average drivers and therefore unlikely to be the cause of a crash but that is different conversation. :) ) This is why, until the last couple years, federal crash test standards for car seats only included frontal testing. NHSTA has just recently proposed rule changes that will include side impact testing criteria for car seats rated up to 40 pounds. In their supporting documents they state they anticipate an estimated 5 lives and 60 serious injuries will be avoided annually by implementing side impact performance standards. The reality is that true side impacts (a 90 deg impact) are not that common but do have a higher fatality rate than a frontal impact. Booster seats will be exempt from this new standard as are harness/vest restraint systems.

      When we are talking crash dynamics it is important for people to understand that all occupants move (violently) toward the point of impact. If you can picture a child’s head/body in a car seat, the seat essentially forms a U shape around them with the opening facing the front of the vehicle. If there is a forward motion component to the crash (which the vast majority do have) then the sides and back of the child restraint do not play a major role, if any, in protecting that child during the crash phase. What IS happening is that the harness system/seat belt is restraining the body (torso) and the head/neck are moving toward the point of impact. During the rebound phase they then rebound back and into the “shell” of the child restraint or vehicle seat but this is a much lower energy phase of the crash. So regardless of the mechanism of restraining the body, the neck is still responsible for stopping the forward motion of the head (unless the head hits some other outside structure i.e vehicle interior, first). This is why keeping children rear facing adds such an increased safety factor, because the head, neck and back are all being supported by the car seat in both head-on and even oblique frontal crashes which account for the vast majority of car crashes.

      As far as true T-bone side impacts, conventional car seats can and do offer a layer of protection. This is also why the middle of the car is safest for any occupant. It is furthest from either side. Also, vehicles have come a LONG way in offering side impact protection built into the vehicle itself both structurally and with airbag technology.

      Lastly, with my background as an emergency responder, I can say with a very high degree of confidence that side impacts are also THE most avoidable type of crash. We, as the operator of our vehicle, have to put ourselves into the intersection where we can then be susceptible to a T-bone crash. By implementing good defensive driving practices and habits, the odds of us being involved in a side impact go WAY down.

      I hope this answers your question. Please let us know if you have further questions.

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