In basic terms:
- Children must be in a car seat until they reach age 4 and 40 pounds, and in a booster seat until they reach age 8, more than 80 pounds in weight, or more than 4 ft. 9 in. tall.
Tiered structure applies:
- Less than 1 year old, or less than 20 lbs. must be in a rear-facing child seat in the back seat (if so equipped)
- If at least one year old and 20 pounds, but less than four years old or less than 40 pounds, must be in a forward- or rear-facing child seat in the back seat (if so equipped)
- Age 4 to age 8, and between 40-80 lbs., and no more than 4 ft. 9 in. must be in a forward- or rear-facing child seat in the back seat (if so equipped) or a booster seat
- Penalty for non-compliance depends on the age of the child
- If less than four years of age, the total penalty is $175.30
- If between ages 4 and 8, the total penalty is $150.10 for the first offense, $200.50 for a second offense, and $263.50 for third and subsequent offenses
- There are no exemptions from these rules allowing removal of a child from a restraint to attend to personal needs (such as feeding or diapering)
Specific questions about child seats/booster seats should be directed to:
Further information and recommendations available from the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.