Child Car Seat Rules Usa
Missouri laws require children under age four and under 40 pounds to ride in a federally approved child car seat that is appropriate for the child's age and size. Children ages 4 through 7 who weigh more than 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds or are not at least 4'9" tall must ride in an appropriate child car seat or booster seat. Children ages 8 to 18 must wear a seatbelt. Missouri law also prohibits children under age 18 from riding in an unenclosed truck bed.
Indiana law requires children less than 8 years old to ride in a federally approved car seat or booster seat that is appropriate for the child's height and weight. The car seat or booster seat be installed and used according to the manufacturer's instructions. Infants under one-year-old and weighing less than 20 pounds must ride in a rear-facing car seat. Children ages 8 to 16 must ride in a seat belt. The state of Indiana strongly encourages parents to use best practices and to place children in the back seat whenever possible, though this is not required by law. Similarly, it is legal for a 30-pound
New Mexico law requires that all children under age 18 be properly restrained in a car seat, booster seat or seat belt. The law further specifies that properly restrained means: 1) children under age 1 must ride rear-facing in a federally approved car seat in the back seat if the vehicle has one, and not in front of an airbag; 2) children up to their seventh birthday, regardless of weight, and all children weighing less than 60 pounds, regardless of age, to ride in a federally approved child safety seat, and 3) children ages 7 to 12 must be properly secured in a seat belt or federally approved booster seat that fits their height and weight. A seatbelt is required until age 18.
The complete list of state car seat laws is below. Before we get to the requirements for each state, let's talk about some of the phrases that commonly appear in the laws and what those might mean for you and your baby.
West Virginia law requires that all children under age 8 ride in an appropriate, federally approved car seat or booster seat that is installed and used according to manufacturer's instructions. If the child is under 8 years old but is taller than 4'9", the child may ride in a seat belt according to West Virginia law. Child passenger safety is a primary law in West Virginia. This means a police officer may pull you over if he or she does not believe your child is properly restrained.
Similarly, it's safest for children to remain in a forward-facing 5-point harness for as long as possible before moving to a booster seat, and to stay in a booster seat until they properly fit in the adult seatbelt using the 5-step test. The state car seat law may only require a harnessed car seat until age 3 or 4, but car seats are available for much larger or older children. The harness spreads crash forces over a greater area of the body versus a seatbelt. For booster seats, a child who can legally move out of a booster seat at age 8 might be too small to fit well in a seatbelt and is at greater risk of serious injuries in a crash.