State-by-State Car Seat Laws

Find child car seat laws and penalties in your state by using the US map or list below. Remember, each state's law regarding height, weight, and age is just a starting point and only provides the most basic protection required by law.

If you need help installing your car seat, trust a professional and find a car seat inspection station near you.

Parents must also check their car seat manufacturer's height and weight limits and follow recommendations from health and safety organizations. Visit our main car seat safety page for additional age, weight, and height guidelines.

Common Car Seat Questions

Does my 8-year-old still need to ride in a booster seat?... Can my son ride in a forward-facing car seat if he is over 1 year old?... What do I do if my daughter has outgrown the height restriction for her car seat, but not the weight restriction?... Should my 60 lb. child ride in the front seat or the back seat?...

Concerned parents ask these very questions every day, and the answers aren't always straightforward. With so much information out there, deciphering the state laws, car seat manufacturer guidelines, and recommendations from organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) or the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is no easy task, but it can make all the difference if you are ever involved in a car accident.

According to the NHTSA, car accidents are the leading cause of death in children 2 to 14 years old, in large part due to the non-use or improper use of child safety seats and seat belts. In fact, a NHTSA review conducted in 2009 found that half of all children age 7 and younger killed in motor vehicle crashes were not in any type of child safety restraint.

Which states have car seat requirements for children?

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands have laws in place for infants and children requiring proper child safety seats. Since laws regarding the child's height, weight, and age vary by state, be sure to use the map above to find laws applying to your state.

Does my older child still need to use a booster seat?

Except for Florida and South Dakota, all US states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico require children who do not properly fit into adult seat belts to ride in booster seats or other appropriate safety seats.

Do children need to wear seat belts on school buses?

California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York require children to wear seat belts on school buses. Texas requires them on buses purchased after September 2010. You can learn more about school bus safety on our School Bus Safety Infographic.

Still not sure your child is in the right seat?

Visit our main car seat safety page to get information about manufacturer height and weight restrictions, guidelines from health and safety organizations, and additional resources including a car seat check station locator and car seat safety app for your smartphone.

Sources: "Child Passenger Safety Laws," Governors Highway Safety Association; National Highway Transportation Safety Administration; Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; Safe Kids USA
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