Every state has different child safety laws when it comes to vehicles, and you should always check those laws closely, as they may have very specific requirements involving weight and height. But, there are some general rules that apply to just about everyone.
– The states all seem to agree: around 8 years old is the time to get rid of the car and booster seats. However, most states recommend that children that age continue to sit in the back, and increasingly that’s becoming the law.
– They also all agree: less than one year gets a rear-facing car seat. Even the states with the loosest laws were pretty strict on that point.
– As a general range, one- to five-year-olds get the front-facing car seat. Some states skew slightly older on that recommendation, but generally, that’s the range.
– Booster seats are for five- to seven-year- olds. Some states only require them if the child is below a certain height or weight.
– As a general rule, once the seat goes into storage, the state seatbelt laws come into play. Unless your state law doesn’t require buckling up, your child should have a seatbelt on…and you’ll be ticketed if he or she isn’t.
Here’s the chart; what laws are on the books in your state?
State |
Rear Facing |
Front Facing |
Booster |
Safety Belt |
Alabama | Less than 1 year | 1-4 years | 5 years | 6-14 years |
Alaska | Less than 1 year | 1-4 years | 4-7 years | 8-16 years |
Arizona | Less than 5 years | Less than 5 years | Less than 5 years | After 5 years |
Arkansas | Less than 5 years | Less than 5 years | Less than 5 years | 6-14 years |
California | Less than 5 years | Less than 5 years | Less than 5 years | 6-15 years |
Colorado | Less than 1 year | 1-3 years | 4-7 years | 8-15 years |
Connecticut | Less than 1 year | 1-6 years | 1-6 years | 7-15 years |
Delaware | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | 8-15 years |
Florida | Less than 3 years | Less than 3 years | Less than 3 years | 3-15 years |
Georgia | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Over 40 pounds |
Hawaii | Less than 3 years | 4-7 years | 4-7 years | 4-7 years |
Idaho | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | 7-15 years |
Illinois | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | 8-15 years |
Indiana | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | 8-15 years |
Iowa | Less than 1 year | 1-5 years | 1-5 years | 6-17 years |
Kansas | Less than 3 years | 4-7 years | 4-7 years | 8-13 years |
Kentucky | Less than 6 years | Less than 6 years | Less than 6 years | More than 6 years |
Louisiana | Less than 1 year | 1-3 years | 4-5 years | 6-12 years |
Maine | Less than 8 years | Less than 8 years | Less than 8 years | 8-17 years |
Maryland | Less than 8 years | Less than 8 years | Less than 8 years | 8-15 years |
Massachusetts | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | 8-12 years |
Michigan | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | 8-15 years |
Minnesota | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | 8 years onward |
Mississippi | Less than 4 years | Less than 4 years | 4-6 years | 7 years onward |
Missouri | Less than 4 years | 4-7 years | 4-7 years | 8-16 years |
Montana | Less than 6 years | Less than 6 years | Less than 6 years | 6 years onward |
Nebraska | Less than 5 years | Less than 5 years | Less than 5 years | 6-17 years |
Nevada | Less than 6 years | Less than 6 years | Less than 6 years | 6 years onward |
New Hampshire | Less than 5 years | Less than 5 years | Less than 5 years | 6-17 years |
New Jersey | Less than 8 years | Less than 8 years | Less than 8 years | 8-17 years |
New Mexico | Less than 1 year | 1-4 years | 4-6 years | 7-17 years |
New York | Less than 3 years | Less than 3 y
ears |
4-7 years | 8-15 years |
North Carolina | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | 8-15 years |
North Dakota | Less than 6 years | Less than 6 years | Less than 6 years | 6 years onward |
Ohio | Less than 4 years | Less than 4 years | 4-7 years | 8-14 years |
Oklahoma | Less than 5 years | Less than 5 years | Less than 5 years | 6-12 years |
Oregon | Less than 1 year | Less than 40 pounds | Over 40 pounds | Over 4’9” in height |
Pennsylvania | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | 8 years onward |
Rhode Island | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | 8 years onward |
South Carolina | Less than 1 year | 1-5 years | Over 5 years | Over 80 pounds |
South Dakota | Less than 5 years | Less than 5 years | Less than 5 years | 5-17 years |
Tennessee | Less than 1 year | 1-3 years | 4-8 years | 9-15 years |
Texas | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | 8 years onward |
Utah | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | 8-15 years |
Vermont | Less than 1 year | 2-7 years | 2-7 years | 7 years onward |
Virginia | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | 8-17 years |
Washington | Less than 8 years | Less than 8 years | Less than 8 years | 8-15 years |
West Virginia | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | Less than 7 years | 8 years onward |
Wisconsin | Less than 1 year | 1-3 years | 4-7 years | 8 years onward |
Wyoming | Less than 8 years | Less than 8 years | Less than 8 years | 8 years onward |
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