Q: I recently was stopped by the police for letting my dog loose in the park, what are the leash laws in Santa Monica?

A: While I understand most of us like to let our dogs run loose and have a good time (myself included), please understand the dog leash laws were enacted in Santa Monica for a reason. Safety is the first; not all dogs are friendly and there are many children in the parks. The dog may get too excited and run from the park and into the street, possibly getting struck by a car. Some people are just scared of dogs and to have a dog run up to them, whether the dog is friendly or not, is frightening. Below I have listed the dog leash law for Santa Monica and the public parks in which you and your dog can run around.

Municipal Code Section 4.04.155: Dogs on public property.

(a) No person having control, charge or custody of any dog shall permit the dog to be upon any public property, unless the dog is:

(1) In the custody and control of a competent person; and either

(2) Confined in an automobile; or

(3) Restrained by a chain or leash six feet or less in fixed length.

(b) Any person violating this section shall be guilty of an infraction which shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $50 per violation with each day or partial day of violation counting as a separate offense.

(c) Notwithstanding the above, this section shall not apply to dogs in any area designated by resolution of the City Council for use by dogs if the person having custody or control of the dog is in compliance with posted rules governing the use of the designated area.

Off-leash areas:

• Airport Park at 3201 Airport Ave.

• Joslyn Park at 633 Kensington Rd.

• Pacific Street Park at Main Street and Pacific

• Memorial Park Dog Run at 1401 Olympic Blvd.

Off leash areas are open:

Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Airport Park is closed for maintenance Monday and Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. All other parks are closed for maintenance Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Q: My daughter is 5 years old and sits in a child car seat. What are the laws about child seats and when can they sit without using a car seat?

A: With the holidays coming up, many people are in a hurry and don’t drive as slow as they should or pay complete attention to the road. Also the numbers of drivers who drink and drive increase during the holidays. While the police department will be out doing extra enforcement during the holidays to assure your safety, we as parents need to make sure our children are safely buckled in properly.

Child passenger restraints: requirements

Section 27360.(a) A parent or legal guardian, when present in a motor vehicle, as defined in Section 27315, may not permit his or her child or ward to be transported upon a highway in the motor vehicle without properly securing the child or ward in a rear seat in a child passenger restraint system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards, unless the child or ward is one of the following:

(1) 6 years of age or older.

(2) 60 pounds or more.

(b) (1) A driver may not transport on a highway a child in a motor vehicle, as defined in Section 27315, without properly securing the child in a rear seat in a child passenger restraint system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards, unless the child is one of the following:

(A) 6 years of age or older.

(B) 60 pounds or more.

2) This subdivision does not apply to a driver if the parent or legal guardian of the child is also present in the vehicle and is not the driver.

(c) (1) For purposes of subdivisions (a) and (b), and except as provided in paragraph (2), a child or ward under the age of 6 years who weighs less than 60 pounds may ride in the front seat of a motor vehicle, if properly secured in a child passenger restraint system that meets applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards, under any of the following circumstances:

(A) There is no rear seat.

(B) The rear seats are side-facing jump seats.

(C) The rear seats are rear-facing seats.

(D) The child passenger restraint system cannot be installed properly in the rear seat.

(E) All rear seats are already occupied by children under the age of 12 years.

(F) Medical reasons necessitate that the child or ward not ride in the rear seat. The court may require satisfactory proof of the child’s medical condition.

(2) A child or ward may not ride in the front seat of a motor vehicle with an active passenger airbag if the child or ward is one of the following:

(A) Under 1 year of age.

(B) Less than 20 pounds.

(C) Riding in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system.

One of the leading causes of children’s deaths in the United States is automobile accidents. Make sure your children are in the proper seats and the seats are installed properly. The Santa Monica Police Department provides a free child safety seat inspection for Santa Monica residents. Please take advantage of this program and contact our Community Relations Section for an appointment. The phone number is (310) 458-8474.

This column was prepared by NRO Scott Pace (Beat 2: Lincoln Boulevard to Ocean Front Walk, Interstate 10 to Ozone Avenue). He can be reached at (424) 200-0682 or scott.pace@smgov.net.