Car Seat Laws Throughout The 50 States: A Citizen’s Guide

50 states

If you have a child and are traveling by car, depending on that child’s age, you may be required to have them in a protective car seat for the duration of the drive. For those who are unsure about rules, regulations, and car seat laws in your area, you can find your state in the list below for more information.

Alabama

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In the state of Alabama, children who are ages six and under must use a child passenger restraint system. Infants and children 20 pounds or less should be secured in a rear-facing infant-only seat. Children who are at least five years old and 40 pounds can ride in forward-facing seats, and a booster seat can be used after the age of six. Young adults must wear seatbelts until the age of 15.

Alaska

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Alaskans are required to keep children less than one year or less than 20 pounds in a federally-approved rear-facing car seat. Those who are older than one, yet less than five, must be secured in a federally-approved child restraint device. If a child is older than four, but not eight yet, the child may ride in a normal seatbelt if they are more than 57 inches tall and weigh over 65 pounds. Otherwise, the child must ride in a secured booster or other federally-approved child passenger restraint system.

​Arizona​

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​Arizona requires all children who are less than five-foot-tall and under the age of eight to ride in a child restraint system. If there isn’t enough sitting room in the vehicle for this type of system, one child may ride in a seatbelt as long as another is in a restraint system.

​Arkansas

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​The state of Arkansas requires those under 15 years of age to be fastened in a passenger restraint system for children. Children who weigh 60 pounds or more, and are in between the ages of six and 15, can use the vehicle’s safety belt. Children less than 60 pounds and six years of age must ride in an appropriate child safety seat.

California

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​Californians must use restraint systems for children who are under the age of eight, but those taller than 4 foot 9 inches may ride secured by the safety belt in the backseat. People eight years and older should be secured with a safety belt.

Colorado

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​The state of Colorado requires riders who are between eight and 16 years of age to be secured with an approved safety belt or restraint system.

Connecticut​

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​Connecticut prohibits a rear facing car seat from being used in the front seat of any vehicle. Additionally, children riding in a booster seat must use a regulated lap-shoulder seat belt.

Delaware

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​Children in Delaware must be secured in the rear seat if they are under 12 years old or under 65 inches tall. Children under eight are required to be restrained in a child safety seat.

Florida

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​In Florida, children who are three years old and younger must be firmly secured in a crash-tested and federally-approved seat device for children. Those between three and six must be fastened in a federally-approved-crash tested child restraint device, booster seat, or integrated child seat.

​Georgia

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​Children in Georgia are considered legally secure in a lap-only belt if they weigh more than 40 pounds. If your child grows to be five foot before reaching age eight, she can ride in an adult seatbelt. Children under eight require a child restraining system.

​Hawaii

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​Hawaiians must be secured in a booster seat or child safety seat if they are under the age of eight but older than four. Children under four must ride in a child passenger approved restraint seat.

Idaho

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​In Idaho, your child must be secured with a child safety restraint if he or she is six years or younger.

Illinois

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​Children in Illinois may ride in the back seat with a lap-only safety belt if there is not an approved lap-shoulder belt available. Parents in Illinois must provide a restraint system for any other person who transports their child under the age of eight.

Indiana

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​Hoosiers who are between age eight and 16 must be strapped in with a restraint or vehicle seat belt. Those who are younger than eight must be held in a child restraint system.

​Iowa

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​Children in Iowa from six to 18 must ride in a child restraint system or safety harness. Children under one year of age must be properly secured in a rear-facing approved restraint seat, while those from age one to six can be fastened in a restraint system in any proper orientation.

Kansas

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​Children in Kansas who are older than eight must be retrained in a vehicle’s seat belt. Those younger than eight but older than four must ride in a child safety restraint system if they weigh less than 80 pounds and are under 4 foot 9 inches.

​Kentucky

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​Kentucky residents are required to secure children under the age of eight and between 40 inches and 57 inches tall in a booster child seat. Children 40 inches tall or less must be secured in a child restraint seat.

Louisiana

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​The state of Louisiana requires children under six years of age and 60 pounds to be secured in a child restraint system.

Maine

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​A child in Maine who is under 12 and who weighs less than 100 pounds must be secured in the back seat of your vehicle if possible. Children who weigh at or less than 80 pounds, but are over 40 pounds, must ride in a restraint system. Those weighing less than 40 pounds must ride in a child safety seat.

Maryland

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​Maryland state law demands that children under eight years of age must be secured in an approved child safety seat until the child is 4 foot 9 inches or taller.

Massachusetts

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​The state of Massachusetts requires riders who are under the age of eight and less than 57 inches tall to be secured in a child restraint.

Michigan

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​Children who are between the ages of four and eight must be fastened into a child restraint system if they are less than 4 foot 9 inches. Those under the age of four must be secured in a child passenger restraint seat.

Minnesota

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​In Minnesota, all children under the age of eight years must be fastened in a child restraint system.

​Mississippi

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​In Mississippi, children who are between the age of four and seven must use a booster seat system if they weigh less than 65 pounds or are smaller than 4 foot 9 inches. Those younger than four years must be fastened with a child passenger restraint seat.

Missouri

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​In the state of Missouri, all children who are under four years of age or less than 40 pounds must ride in a child restraint system. Those between four and eight years of age who are less than 40 pounds will be required by law to use a booster passenger seat.

Montana

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​Those who weigh less than 60 pounds and are younger than the age of six must be secured in a child safety passenger restraint.

Nebraska

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​In the state of Nebraska, all children six years and younger must ride in a federally-approved safety seat for children. Those over six must ride in a child safety seat, and those under 18 must wear a safety belt.

Nevada

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​Nevada requires riders who are younger than six and are lighter than 60 pounds to be restrained with a child restraint system.

New Hampshire

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​New Hampshire state law requires children younger than seven or shorter than 57 inches to be secured into a federally-approved passenger child restraint system.

New Jersey

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​In New Jersey, those who weigh under 30 pounds and are under the age of two must ride in a rear-facing system with an approved 5-point harness. The same is required for those under age four and less than 40 pounds - until the child outgrows the system’s height or weight limits. Children who are under 57 inches and younger than age eight must be secured in a child restraint that is forward-facing and equipped with an approved 5-point harness.

New Mexico

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​New Mexico requires children under 18 to be secured in a child restraint device or seat belt. Those between one and four years of age who weigh less than 40 pounds must be fastened into a child restraint seat. Children younger than one must ride in a rear-facing seat. Children aged five and six must ride in a booster if they are less than 60 pounds.

​New York

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​The state of New York requires children to remain in a child restraint system until they are eight years old. Children who are shorter than 4 foot 9 inches cannot use the vehicle’s safety belt.

North Carolina

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​North Carolinians must use a child passenger restraint system for children less than 80 pounds. Those younger than five and less than 40 pounds must be secured in the rear seat of the vehicle.

North Dakota

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​In North Dakota, children younger 18 should be secured with a seat belt or child restraint.  Those who are younger than eight must ride in a child restraint system unless they are taller 4 foot 9 inches.

Ohio

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​Ohio parents are required to use child restraint systems for children ages four and younger. Those ages five to eight and less than 4 foot 9 inches must use a booster seat, while children ages eight through 15 must ride in a child restraint system or with a safety belt.

Oklahoma

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​Children in Oklahoma have to ride in a child passenger restraint system if they are under eight years old and if under the age of two the system must be rear-facing. Children from ages four to eight who are less than 4 foot 9 inches must ride in a child restraint system or booster seat.

Oregon

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​In Oregon, children younger than two must ride in a rear-facing restraint system. Those who weigh more than 40 pounds while being shorter than 5 foot must be secured with a booster seat.

Pennsylvania

​Pennsylvania law requires rear-facing restraint systems for children under two years old. Children younger than four require a child passenger restraint system, while those between age four and eight must ride in a booster seat.

Rhode Island

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​In Rhode Island, children shorter than 57 inches and under the age of eight must ride in a child restraint system. Children under two or those that weigh less than 30 pounds require a rear-facing seat. Those under eight years old but taller than 57 inches or at least 80 pounds can wear a safety belt.

South Carolina

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​Children under two years old must ride in a rear-facing seat in South Carolina. Children ages two to four must ride in a forward-facing seat, while children ages four to eight can graduate to a booster seat. If a child is eight years old and at least 57 inches tall, he or she can be secured with the vehicle’s safety belt.

​South Dakota

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​South Dakota requires children under the age of five to be fastened into a federally-approved child restraint system. Children between five and 18 must wear an adjusted seat belt.

Tennessee

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​A rear-facing seat must be used for children under the age of one in Tennessee. Ages one to three may ride in a forward-facing seat, and those between four and eight must use a booster seat while shorter than 4 foot 9 inches.

Texas

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​In Texas, a child passenger safety device must be used for any child younger than eight years old. Exceptions can be made for children who are at least 4 foot 9 inches tall.

Utah

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​Children taller than 56 inches may use a lap-shoulder belt in the state of Utah. Children younger than eight should be protected with a child restraint device provided by the operator of the vehicle.

Vermont

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​Every passenger in the vehicle must be properly restrained in Vermont if they are under the age of 18.

Virginia

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​Children from ages eight to 18 must be restrained using a safety belt. Children younger than eight must be restrained with a child restraint device.

Washington

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​Children who are eight years of age or are at least 4 foot 9 inches must be restrained using the vehicle’s safety belt. Children under eight years old must ride in a child restraint system unless they are taller than 4 foot 9 inches.

West Virginia

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​Children under eight years of age must be secured in a child passenger safety system in Virginia.

Wisconsin

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​In Wisconsin, children under eight years old must be secured in a child safety restraint system.

Wyoming  

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​In the state of Wyoming, riders who are younger than eight must be fastened with a child safety system, and those eight and older must use the vehicle’s safety belt.

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