Child Car Seat Laws

child car seat laws

While most parents understand that having their child in a car seat is required by law, many are not fully aware that child car seat laws and car seat requirements actually differ from state to state. These child car seat requirements can dramatically affect how your little one is kept safe in a car especially since the restrictions will vary based on the age, weight, and height of the child.

Penalties for noncompliance can result in steep fines, even on the first offense, and may also result in points being added to a person’s driver’s license. Expect to pay anywhere from a meager $10, clear up to $500 for children in your car not being properly restrained in accordance with that particular states child car seat laws. Additionally, since all fifty states have laws that dictate how children should be restrained in a vehicle, it is imperative that a parent understands the child car seat laws and requirements for their state and any that they plan to travel to.

 

 Child Car Seat Laws By State

 

State

Child Car Seat Laws

Max Fine on 1st Offense

Alabama Rear facing infant seat for children less than 1. Children from 1-4 in forward facing car seat. Children 5 and older in appropriate booster seat.

$25 in addition to points on license

Alaska Rear facing car seat for children less than 1. 1-4 in appropriate safety seat. Children 4-7 years in booster seat.

$50

 

Arizona Children less than 4 in appropriate car seat. Children 5-7 in booster seat

$50

 

Arkansas Children less than 5 years, and less than 60” in appropriate car seat.

$100

 

California Children less than 8 years and less than 57” in appropriate car seat, rear facing if possible.

$100

Colorado Less than 1 year in rear facing seat. Children 1-3 in appropriate seat with children 4-7 in a booster seat. $82
Connecticut Less than 1 in rear facing car seat. 1-6 years old in appropriate car seat. Booster seats must have lap and shoulder belt.

$92

 

Delaware Less than 1 in rear facing car seat. Children 1-6 in appropriate car seat. All booster seats must have lap and shoulder belts.

$25

 

Florida Children less than 3 need to be in appropriate car seat.

$60 fine and points added to license

 

Georgia Children less than 8 in appropriate car seat. Keep children in rear facing when and if possible.

$50 fine and points added to license

 

Hawaii Children less than 4 years kept in appropriate car seat. Children 4-7 in booster seat. $100 
Idaho Children less than 7 in appropriate child car seat. $79 
Illinois Children less than 8 in appropriate child car seat. $75 
Indiana Children less than 7 in appropriate child car seat. $25 fine with points added to license. 
Iowa Children less than 1 in rear facing car seat. Children 1-5 years in appropriate child car seat. $195 fine and court costs 
Kansas Children less than 3 years in appropriate child car seat. Children 4-7 years in child car seat or booster seat. $60 
Kentucky Children less than 40 inches tall in appropriate car seat. Children Less than 6 years in a booster seat. $50 fine for children in car seats. $30 fine for children in booster seats. 
Louisiana Children less than 1 in an appropriate child car seat. Children 1-3 in a forward facing car seat and children 4-5 in a booster seat. $100 
Maine Children less than 40 pounds in an appropriate car seat. Children between 40 and 80 pounds that are less than 8 years need to be in a booster seat. $50 
Maryland Children less than 8 years old need to be in an appropriate car seat. $50 
Massachusetts Children less than 7 in appropriate child car seat. $25 
Michigan Children less than 7 in appropriate child car seat. Children less than 4 need to be in a rear facing seat if possible. $10 for children under 4, $25 for children under 8. 
Minnesota Children less than 7 in appropriate child car seat. $50 
Mississippi Children under 4 in an appropriate child car seat. Children between 4 and 6 in a booster seat. $25 
Missouri Children less than 4 in a car seat. Children between 4 and 7 in a booster seat. $50 
Montana Children less than 6 years or 60 inches need to be in appropriate child car seat $100 
Nebraska Children less than 5 years need to be restrained in appropriate child car seat. $25 fine and points added to license 
Nevada Children less than 6 years or 60 inches need to be in appropriate child car seat $100-$500 fine 
New Hampshire Children less than 7 years or 57 inches need to be in appropriate child car seat $50 
New Jersey Children less than 8 years or 80 inches need to be in appropriate child car seat $25 
New Mexico Children less than 1 need to be in rear facing infant car seat. Children 1-4 need to be in appropriately fitting child car seat. Children 5-6 in a booster car seat $25 
New York Children less than 3 years in appropriate child car seat. Children 4-7 must be in child car seat if there is no adequately fitting lap and shoulder belt available. $100 fine and points added to license 
North Carolina Children less than 7 years and/or 80 pounds must be in an appropriate child car seat $25 fine with additional court costs and points added to license 
North Dakota Children less than 6 years and/or 80 pounds and/or 57 inches must be in an appropriate child car seat $25 fine and one point added to license 
Ohio Children less than 4 years in a child car seat. Children between 4 and 7 years in a booster seat. $75 
Oklahoma Children less than 5 years must be in an appropriate child car seat $50 fine with additional court costs 
Oregon Children less than 40 pounds must be in appropriate child car seat with infants less than 1 year of age, or 20 pounds. Children less than 8 years in booster seat. $110 
Pennsylvania Children less than 7 years must be in an appropriate child car seat $75 
Rhode Island Children less than 7 years must be in an appropriate child car seat. $85 
South Carolina Children less than 1 year in a rear facing infant car seat. Children 1-5 years in a forward facing child car seat or booster seat depending on size $150 
South Dakota Children less than 5 years and 40 pounds in an appropriate child car seat. $25 
Tennessee Children less than 1 in a rear facing car seat. Children less than 3 in a forward facing child car seat. Children less than 8 in an appropriate booster seat. $50 
Texas Children less than 7 years and/or 57 inches tall in an appropriate child car seat. $25 fine minimum 
Utah Children less than 7 years and/or 57 inches tall in an appropriate child car seat. $45 
Vermont Children less than 1 in a rear facing child car seat. Children 1-7 in an appropriate child car seat in rear of car unless airbag in front passenger is not active. $25 
Virginia Children less than 7 years must be in appropriate child car seat in rear of car unless the air bag in front seat is not active. $50 
Washington Children less than 8 in an appropriate child car seat in rear of car. $124 
West Virginia Children less than 7 years must be in appropriate child car seat. $20 
Wisconsin Children less than 1 must be in a rear facing car seat. Children between 1 and 3 years must be in a forward facing car seat. Children between 4 and 7 must be in a booster seat if possible. $173.50 
Wyoming Children less than 8 years of age must be in appropriate child car seat. $50 

 

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