What does your state law say about car seats? Find Your State’s Car Seat Law or Find a Local Car seat expert

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CPS Technicians have taken a 40-hour class with curriculum written by NHTSA in collaboration with National CPS Board and Safe Kids Worldwide. During the class they learn the ins and outs of car seats, installation options, vehicle differences, harnessing procedures and more. They have hands-on exercises where an instructor checks to make sure they understand what they are doing and why.

To remain a technician one must take continuing education courses, learn about new seats available on the market and have some of our car seat installations checked by an instructor every two years.

Our team members, Greg and Amie, have a combined 25+ years of experience as certified CPS technicians and here to answer all your questions about car seats.

If you would rather find a local technician to talk with in person or have check your car seat, click here to find a technician near you.

car seat laws

Know Your Updated Local CPS Laws by State to Maximize Car Safety For Your Kids

Plus US territory and some common international destinations below.

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Best practice recommendations and the law don’t always correlate

We research and update the state laws every year. Most parents and caregivers assume the law is the safest and what is recommended by safety experts. However, this is not always the case. States’ restraint laws are the result of compromises between the “best practice” recommendations of safety experts and provisions the legislators feel are practical, enforceable, and will be tolerated by the general public and their own constituents. Occupant restraint laws should be considered to be minimum standards. The two biggest differences between what is legal vs. what is recommended are:

  1. The laws are based on age whereas “best practice” recommendations for the best crash protection are based on weight and physical development.
  2. None of these laws require all occupants be buckled up at all times in all seating positions (follow link to read exceptions).

Be aware other websites may simplify the language (and because they don’t know there are other alternatives) and just say “booster seat” for “booster aged” children though the law likely will say “child restraint system.” Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save

Alabama — (32-5-222)

  • Children through age 6 shall properly use an aftermarket or integrated child passenger restraint system which meets FMVSS 213 and use a size-appropriate restraint system, including the following:
    • Infant only seats and convertible seats used in the rear-facing position for infants until at least one year of age or 20 pounds
    • Convertible seats in the forward position or forward facing seats until the child is at least five years of age or 40 pounds SR4K note: The Ride Safer® Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. First and foremost the law states children use an appropriate child restraint system that meets FMVSS 213, which the Ride Safer does.
    • Booster seats until the child is 6 years of age
    • Seat belts until 15 years of age
  • SR4K note: This is an instance where in trying to be specific law makers don’t necessarily allow for best practice. Not only are there options other than a “booster seat”, like the Ride Safer Travel Vest, a large percentage of children age 6 are not tall enough to fit properly in a seat belt. Thankfully it says “at least one year of age” for rear facing. We believe for the safety of your children, you should follow best practice to the best of your ability.

Alaska — (Sec. 2. AS 28.05.095)

  • Children less than one year old or less than 20 lbs must be properly secured in a federally approved rear-facing car seat. SR4K note: In other words the child must be one year AND 20 lbs to move to the next seat.
  • Children more than one year old but less than 5 years old, who weigh 20 lbs or more, the child must be properly secured in a federally approved child restraint device. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest meets this requirement for children 3 and older and 30 lbs or more.
  • Children who are more than 4 years old but less than 8 years old, weigh more than 20 lbs but less than 65 lbs, and are less than 57 inches tall must ride in a properly secured booster seat or another federally approved child passenger restraint system.
  • If a child is more than 4 years old but not yet 8 years old but exceeds the height and weight requirements in the preceding paragraph, they may ride in a seatbelt. Once the child is 8 years old, if they do not exceed the height and weight requirements, the driver may decide whether it’s appropriate to let the child ride in the seatbelt or continue using another federally approved child safety device.

Arizona — (ARS 28-907)

  • All children who are under who are under eight years of age and who are not more than four feet nine inches tall are to be restrained in a correctly installed child restraint system. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest meets this requirement for children 3 and older and 30 lbs or more.
  • One exemption is in the situation where there is not enough room in the vehicle to put in child restraint systems for all the children in the vehicle. At least one child must be in a proper restraint system. SR4K note: We’re surprised to see this in the law and highly recommend all children be properly restrained in a vehicle for their and the other occupants safety in the event of a crash. Luckily the RideSafer Travel Vest can be a solution to this challenge.

Arkansas — (Arkansas Code 27-34-104)

  • Children under 15 years of age must be properly placed, maintained, and secured in a federally approved child passenger restraint system properly secured to the vehicle.
    • Children less than 6 years of age and less than 60 pounds are required to ride in an appropriate child safety restraint. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
    • Children who are at least 60 pounds and at least 6 years of age (up to 15) can be sufficiently restrained in a vehicle safety belt.

California — (Section 27360 – 27368 of the Vehicle Code of California)

  • Children under the age of 8 must be secured in the back seat of the vehicle in an appropriate child passenger restraint system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older.
    • If the child is less than two years of age the child shall be properly restrained in a rear-facing child restraint system in a rear seat of the vehicle, unless the child is more than 40 pounds or 40 inches. (Effective Jan. 1, 2017)
  • Children under the age of 8 who are 4′ 9″ or taller may be secured by a safety belt in the back seat.
  • Children who are 8 years and over shall be properly secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system or safety belt.

Colorado — (Colorado Revised Statue 42-4-236)

Colorado’s child passenger safety law is a primary enforcement action, meaning a driver does not have to be stopped for another driving offense before they can be ticketed for a violation of the child passenger safety laws. They can be pulled over for this reason alone. The child passenger safety law clearly defines child safety seat and seat belt use from birth through age 15 as follows:

  • If the child is less than one year of age and weighs less than twenty pounds, the child shall be properly restrained in a rear-facing child restraint system in a rear seat of the vehicle.
  • If the child is one year of age or older, but less than four years of age, and weighs less than forty pounds, but at least twenty pounds, the child shall be properly restrained in a rear-facing or forward-facing child restraint system.
  • If the child weighs over 40 pounds or is at least four years old, the child shall be properly restrained in a child restraint system, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (SR4K note: This would be either a forward-facing safety seat, booster seat or with a child safety belt-positioning device —like the RideSafer Travel Vest.)
  • A child who is at least eight years old but less than 16 (SR4K note: Of course those 16 and older should be properly restrained as well) must be properly restrained with a safety belt or child restraint system. Proper use of a safety belt means the shoulder belt, if present, crosses the shoulder and chest and the lap belt crosses the hips, touching the thighs.

Connecticut — (Sec. 14-100a (d) (1))

  • Children 6 years of age and younger or weighing less than 60 pounds must be in a federally approved child restraint. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest meets this requirement for children 3 and older and 30 lbs or more.
    • Infants must remain in a rear-facing child restraint until they are one year AND 20 pounds.
    • Children 4 years of age or younger and weighing less that 40 pounds must use a child restraint in a student transportation vehicle. Children 4 years of age or older riding in a student transportation vehicle must use an approved child restraint or seat belt.
  • Children 7 years of age and weighing 60 pounds or more may be restrained in an appropriate child restraint or vehicle seat belt.
    • When using a booster seat children must use a lap-shoulder seat belt.

Delaware — (Title 21 Section 4803)

  • All children must be properly restrained in a federally approved child safety seat appropriate for the child’s age, weight and height up to 8 years of age or 65 lbs. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Children who are at least 8 years of age or weigh 65 lbs but younger than 16 must be properly restrained in a vehicle’s seat belt.
  • Children must be restrained in the rear seat until the child is 65 inches in height or 12 years of age.

Florida — (316.613)

  • Children 3 and younger must be secured in a crash-tested federally approved child restraint device.
  • Children 4 through 5 must be secured by either a crash-tested federally approved child restraint device, integrated child seat or booster seat. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.

Georgia —(O.C.G.A. § 40-8-76)

  • Children under eight years of age in a passenger automobile, van, or pickup truck, other than a taxicab or a public transit vehicle shall be properly restrained in a child passenger restraining system appropriate for such child’s height and weight and approved by the United States Department of Transportation under provisions of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. Children eight years of age or younger must ride in the back seat. If the back seat is occupied by other passengers your child may ride in the front seat, provided he or she is secured in a booster or child safety seat. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • If your child reaches 4’9″ before age 8, he or she can legally ride in an adult seat belt. An exemption is also available for children who have a medical or physical condition that prevents them from being properly restrained according to the law. A written statement from a physician is required for this exemption.
  • Children who weigh more than 40 pounds can legally ride in a lap-only belt instead of a child restraint if that’s all that is available in the vehicle. A lap-only belt without a booster is also legal for children weighing at least 40 pounds if all other seating positions with lap and shoulder belts are being used by other children. In this case, though, parents should try to rearrange the placement of child restraints to ensure that each child is protected as much as possible.

Hawaii — (HRS Section 291-11.5)

  • Children under four years of age must be properly restrained in a child passenger restraint system that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards.
  • Children four years of age or older but less than eight years of age must be properly restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards unless the child is over 4 foot 9 inches tall or more than 40 pounds and using a lap-only belt in the back seat in which cases the child must use the vehicle’s seat belt. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. Plus children over 40 pounds and using a lap only belt can still use the RideSafer® 2 with tether strap. See best practice recommendations.

Idaho — (title 49 Chap 6 Section 49-672)

  • Children age 6 and younger must be properly secured in a child safety restraint that meets the requirements of federal motor safety standard number 213. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations. Unless:
    • All of the motor vehicle’s seat belts are in use at which time the unrestrained child must be in the rear seat of the vehicle, if there is one.
    • Or if the child is removed from the safety restraint and held by an attendant for the purpose of nursing or to meet another immediate physiological need. SR4K note: Please remember both exceptions pose a risk not only to the unrestrained child but to all other occupants in the vehicle in the event of a crash.

Illinois — (625 ILCS 25/4 Child Passenger Protection Act)

  • Children under the age of 8 years shall be secured in an appropriate child restraint system. Child restraint system meaning any device which meets the standards of the United States Department of Transportation designed to restrain, seat or position children, which also includes a booster seat. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Parents of children under the age of 8 shall provide an appropriate child restraint system to any other person who transports their child.
  • Children weighing at least 40 pounds may sit in the back seat of a vehicle with a lap-only belt if there is not a lap-shoulder belt available.

There is more information about Illinois law and a list of fitting stations here. SR4K note: although the manufacturer of the RideSafer® Travel Vest is based in Chicago, Illinois, perhaps the people who put this web site together have not yet been introduced to it as they only use the language “booster seats” rather than including information about alternatives.

Indiana — (IC 9-19-11)

  • Children less than 8 years of age must be properly restrained in a child restraint system, according to the child restraint manufacturer’s instructions. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest meets this requirement for children 3 and older and 30 lbs or more.
  • Children between the ages of 8 and 16 must be restrained with a child restraint or vehicle’s seat belt.

Iowa — (IOWA CODE 321.446)

  • A child under 1 year old and weighing less than 20 lbs. must be secured in a rear-facing child restraint system in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. (A “child restraint system” is a specifically designed seating system, including a belt positioning seat (or booster seat) that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards — this should be indicated somewhere on the seat itself.)
  • A child age 1 up to 6 years old must be secured in a child restraint system in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • A child from age 6 but under 18 must be secured in a child restraint system or by a safety belt or safety harness.

Kansas — (KSA 8-1343)

  • Children under the age of four shall be restrained in an appropriate child passenger safety restraining system that meets or exceeds FMVSS 213. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Children older than four but younger than 8 and who weigh less than 80 pounds or is less than 4’9″ in height shall be restrained in an appropriate child passenger safety restraining system that meets or exceeds FMVSS 213. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older.
  • Children older than 8 shall be restrained in a vehicle’s seat belt.

Kentucky — (KRS 189.125)

  • Children 40 inches tall or less shall be properly secured in a child restraint system which meets FMVSS 213. SR4K note: The Ride Safer® Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Children under the age of 8 who is between 40 and 57 inches tall shall be properly secured in a child booster seat. Children under the age of 7 who is between 40 and 50 inches tall shall be properly secured in a child booster seat that is designed to elevate the child to properly fit in the federally approved vehicle lap and shoulder seat belt. SR4K note: Here the intent of the law is to make sure the seat belt is properly fitted to the child which as a belt-positioning device, the Ride Safer® does. If the interpretation of the law is strictly that a booster seat must be used for children 4 to 8 years old, it would be illegal to transport them in any harness seat over 4 years of age.

Louisiana — (RS 32:295)

  • Children under the age of 6 years or less than 60 lbs. must be in a child restraint system that is age and size appropriate, in accordance with manufacturers recommendations. Specifically:
    • A child who is younger than one year of age or weighs less than twenty pounds shall be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat. SR4K notes: “Best Practice” as defined by American Academy of Pediatrics and SafeKids Worldwide recommend that children be rear facing until at least 2 years old and up to the upper REAR FACING weight limit of the Child Restraint System which could be up to 45 pounds.
    • A child who is at least one year of age but younger than four years of age or who weighs at least twenty pounds but less than forty pounds shall be restrained in a forward-facing child safety seat.
    • A child who is at least four years of age but younger than six years of age or who weighs at least forty pounds but not more than sixty pounds shall be restrained in a child booster seat.
    • A child who is at least six years of age or weighs more than sixty pounds shall be restrained with the motor vehicle’s safety belt adjusted and fastened around the child’s body or in an appropriately fitting child booster seat in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer of the safety belt or child booster seat.
  • A child who because of age or weight can be placed in more than one category shall be placed in the more protective category. SR4K note: This is an important line in the law which allows for best practice recommendations to be followed and for the RideSafer Travel Vest to be used for children 3 and older.

Maine — (MRS 2081)

  • Children who weigh less than 40 lbs. must ride in a child safety seat that meets federal standards
  • Children who weigh at least 40 lbs., but less than 80 lbs. and less than 8 years old, ride in a federally approved child restraint system (after Feb. 1, 2005, this includes nonprofit, municipal or contracted transportation services) SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Children who are more than 8 years old and less than 18 years old and more than 4 feet 9 inches in height should be properly secured in a vehicle seat belt
  • Children under 12 years old and who weigh less than 100 lbs. must be properly secured in the back seat of the vehicle, if possible.

Maryland — (22–412.2)

  • Children under the age of 8 years in a motor vehicle shall be secured in a child safety seat (defined as intended to restrain, seat or position a child being transported and certified that it meets applicable federal safety standards) in accordance with the child safety seat and vehicle manufacturers’ instructions unless the child is 4 feet, 9 inches tall or taller. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.

Massachusetts — (Chapter90/Section7AA)

  • Children under the age of 8 shall be fastened and secured by a child passenger restraint, unless the child measures more than 57 inches in height. The child passenger restraint shall be properly fastened and secured according to the manufacturer’s instructions. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.

Michigan — (Section 257.710d and Section 257.710e(3b))

  • Children less than 4 years of age in a motor vehicle shall properly secure that child in a child restraint system that meets the standards prescribed in 49 CFR 571.213 (aka FMVSS 213) in the rear seat, if the vehicle is equipped with a rear seat. (If all available rear seats are occupied by children less than 4 years of age or if there is no rear seat, then a child less than 4 years of age may be positioned in the child restraint system in the front seat, including a rear-facing child restraint system if the front passenger air bag is deactivated.)
  • Children who are between the ages of 4 and 8 years old AND are less than 4 feet, 9 inches tall must be properly secured in a child restraint system. SR4K note: This is considered their “booster seat” law, however, technically it does say “child restraint system,” thus the RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.

Minnesota — (169.685-Subd. 5)

  • All children under age 8 must ride in a child passenger restraint system which meets federal motor vehicle safety standards, unless the child is 4’9″ or taller. Restraints must be installed and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
    • Suspected non-use is a valid basis to stop a motor vehicle.
  • The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety writes, “This law is a minimum safety standard and does not reflect best practices for properly securing children within vehicles.

Mississippi — (MCA 63-7-301)

  • Mississippi Dept. of Health site simply states, “children under the age of 7 years are now required to ride in a properly-fitting child restraint at all times.”
  • The actual statute says:
    • Children under the age of 4 year must be protected by properly using a child passenger restraint device or system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
    • Children at least 4 years of age but less than 7 and who measure less than 4’9″ or weigh less than 65 pounds shall use a belt positioning booster seat system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards. SR4K note: Although the RideSafer® does properly position the vehicle’s seat belt system it is not technically a booster seat. (The RideSafer brings the seat belt down to the child vs “boosting” them up.) However, the manufacturer, Safe Traffic System, will be releasing a booster seat which has been tested with the RideSafer® just for such cases. This would allow parents the additional safety of the energy absorbing materials of the vest while working within the letter of the law in the few states where the language actually does say “booster seat” rather than a more inclusive language of “child restraint”. Of course, if followed to the letter, this Mississippi law would not allow children 4 and older to continue using a forward-facing 5-point child restraint even if they still fit appropriately.

Missouri — (RSMo 307.179)

(Some websites said it was statute 307.182 but we couldn’t find any such statute. Of course those sites also change the language of the law to say “booster seat” instead of “child passenger restraint system”.)

  • Children less than four years of age, regardless of weight, shall be secured in a child passenger restraint system appropriate for that child. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Children weighing less than forty pounds, regardless of age, shall be secured in a child passenger restraint system appropriate for that child.
  • Children at least four years of age but less than eight years of age, who also weigh at least forty pounds but less than eighty pounds, and who are also less than four feet nine inches tall, shall be secured in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat appropriate for that child.
  • Children at least eighty pounds or children more than four feet, nine inches in height shall be secured by a vehicle safety belt or booster seat appropriate for that child.
  • A child who otherwise would be required to be secured in a booster seat may be transported in the back seat of a motor vehicle while wearing only a lap belt if the back seat of the motor vehicle is not equipped with a combination lap and shoulder belt for booster seat installation. SR4K note: Or you can use a RideSafer with the lap-only belt and a tether or EATAL accessory.

Montana — (61-9-420)

  • Children less than six years of age who weigh less than 60 pounds must be restrained with a child safety restraint appropriate for the child’s weight and height as indicated by manufacturer standards. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.

Nebraska — (60-6,267)

  • All children up to age six must ride correctly secured in a federally-approved child safety seat. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Children ages six and over up to age eighteen must ride secured in a safety belt or child safety seat.

Nevada — (NRS 484B.157)

  • Children who are less than 6 years of age and who weigh 60 pounds or less shall be secured in a child restraint system which has been federally approved, is appropriate for the size and weight of the child and is installed within and attached safely and securely to the motor vehicle in accordance with the instructions for installation and attachment provided by the manufacturer of the child restraint system; or in another manner that is approved by the NHTSA. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.

New Hampshire — (RSA 265:107-a)

  • Children under 7 or under 57 inches shall be properly fastened and secured by a federally-approved child restraint system. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.

New Jersey — (NJSA 39:3-76.2a you’ll have to scroll through the pages)

  • Children must ride secured in a child restraint system or booster seat as described in FMVSS 213 in the rear seat of the vehicle.
  • Children under the age of 2 and who weigh less than 30 pounds shall be secured in a rear-facing child restraint equipped with a 5-point harness.
  • Children under the age of 4 and weighing less than 40 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing child restraint system equipped with a 5-point harness (until the child outgrows the top height or top weight recommendations of the child restraint) or in a forward-facing child restraint equipped with a 5-point harness. SR4K note: See our notes regarding this law and the RideSafer here. NJ State Police and NJ Attorney General’s office confirm the RideSafer is legal in the state of NJ because it’s certified under FMVSS 213.
  • Children under the age of 8 and less than 57 inches tall must be secured in a forward-facing child restraint equipped with a 5-point harness (until the child outgrows the top height or top weight recommendations of the child restraint) or in a booster seat.

New Mexico — (66-7-369)

  • Children less than 18 years of age shall be properly secured in a child passenger restraint device or a seat belt as follows:
    • Children less than one year shall be secured a in federally approved rear-facing child passenger restraint device in the rear seat (if there is no rear seat the passenger seat airbag must be turned deactivated).
    • Children 1 to 4 years of age or children who weigh less than 40 pounds shall be properly secured in a federally approved child passenger restraint device. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
    • Children 5 through 6 or who weigh less than 60 pounds shall be secured in either a child booster seat or an appropriate federally approved child passenger restraint device.
    • Children 7 through 12 shall be properly secured in a child passenger restraint device or seat belt.
    • Children can be secured in an adult seat belt when they pass the 5 step test.

New York — (Section 1229-c(1), NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law [also VAT Art 33 Section 1229-C])

  • Children must remain in an appropriate child restraint system until the age of eight (8). An appropriate child restraint system is one that meets the child’s size and weight and the specifications of the manufacturer of such system. A child restraint system may be a child safety seat, harness, vest or a booster seat. SR4K note: This describes the intent of the law and indicates RideSafer is legal in New York. Specifically:
    • Children under the age of four must be restrained in a specifically designed seat which meets FMVSS 213 and is either permanently affixed or affixed with a seat belt. SR4K note: This indicates that technically, since it’s not a “seat”, a child would have to be 4 years old or 40 pounds to use the RideSafer in New York. But also, according to this language, technically parents would not be allowed to install a car seat with LATCH as it says the seat has to be “affixed to such vehicle with a safety belt.”
    • Children under four but more than 40 pounds must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system installed with a lap-shoulder belt or a lap-only belt in the event there is not an available lap-shoulder belt in the vehicle.
    • Children four or older but younger than 8 must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system.
    • Children 8 through 16 must be restrained using a lap-shoulder belt.
  • The vehicle’s safety belts are not defined as a child restraint system under this law, as safety belts are not designed for children under 4’9″ and, therefore, do not protect young children.
  • Taxis and public transportation buses are exempt from occupant restraint law. However, it is recommended, especially in taxis, to use an appropriate child restraint. SR4K note: the RideSafer is a terrific, light-weight, easy-to-use choice for children who travel in taxis or car services starting at age 3.
  • Children under the age of four must be restrained in a federally approved car seat while riding on a school bus.

North Carolina — (G.S. 20-137.1)

  • A child less than eight years of age and less than 80 pounds in weight shall be properly secured in a weight-appropriate child passenger restraint system which meets federal standards. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • A child less than 5 and 40 pounds must be secured in the rear seat of the vehicle, unless the child restraint system is designed for use with air bags.
  • If no seating position equipped with a lap and shoulder belt to properly secure the weight-appropriate child passenger restraint system is available, a child less than eight years of age and between 40 and 80 pounds may be restrained by a properly fitted lap-only belt. SR4K note: This is a good situation when a RideSafer with a tether strap would be most useful.

North Dakota — (Code Chapter 39-21-41.2 [scroll down to 41.2])

  • Children under the age of 7 are required to ride in a federally approved child restraint. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • A lap and shoulder belt may be substituted for children under the age of 7 if the child weighs at least 80 pounds and is at least 57 inches tall.
  • A lap belt may be used by children over 40 pounds who ride in vehicles with lap-only seat belts. (This is because booster seats require both a lap and shoulder belt for correct use, however, with a RideSafer 2 and a tether children can be safely restrained with a lap-only belt.)
  • Children ages 7 through 17 must be properly secured in a seat belt or child restraint.

Ohio — (4511.81)

  • Children up to age 4 or less than 40 pounds be restrained in a child restraint system that meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
  • Children less than 8 years of age and less than 4 foot 9 inches in height and don’t meet above criteria are required to be in a booster seat that meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. (This is addressed in our comments below.)
  • Children at least 8 through 15 years of age must be properly restrained in a child restraint system or in an Occupant Restraining Device as described below.
    • An Occupant Restraining Device is defined as seat safety belt, shoulder belt, harness, or other safety device for restraining a person that satisfies the minimum the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. 4513.263
  • The above doesn’t apply to children riding in taxicabs or public safety vehicles.

SR4K note: Although the RideSafer® is a belt positioning device like a booster, it is not technically a booster seat. (The RideSafer brings the seat belt down to the child versus “boosting” them up.) If we (and law enforcement) were to strictly interpret this law as it is written, EVERY child who is over four years old and over 40 pounds who is less than eight years of age and less than 4 feet nine inches in height would be REQUIRED to be in a booster seat even though there are many conventional 5 point harness car seats rated by their respective manufacturers to properly restrain children who weigh over 40 pounds regardless of age. Are we to assume that the legislative intent is to require the use of boosters even for these children who would be considered “properly restrained” in a 5 point harness? We are stuck in a situation where those writing the law are not child safety seat experts but lawyers and sometimes miss the mark on what they are intending to accomplish. Safe Kids Ohio also interprets it as “booster seat or other appropriate child safety seat.” The RideSafer Travel vest, by the definition of the Ohio revised code 4513.263, IS an Occupant Restraining Device. The RideSafer vest has been crash tested to meet the federal standards which are outlined in (FMVSS 213) and performs quite well. The federal government does not specify design criteria but rather performance criteria leaving it up to manufacturers to self-certify their product meets the federal standards. This is true of ALL car seats and booster seats. In the end, there is a judgement call as parents/caregivers when the letter of the law does not allow us to implement newer technology despite the fact that they may well be as safe or safer for our children. It is our opinion that IF you were pulled over and the officer was attempting to cite you as being in violation of Ohio revised code 4511.81, if you pointed out that the RideSafer Vest is FMVSS 213 compliant (found on the labeling) that would suffice to convince the officer you are educated and using a compliant Occupant Restraining Device per Ohio revised code 4513.263 and federal crash test standards and you are, in fact, properly restraining your child. The challenge that we are facing is that the vest is a relatively new concept (certified for use in the USA since 2004) and the legislatures do not know there is technology that is newer than, and in some ways better than, the protection offered to children by “booster seats”.

Oklahoma — (47.11-1112)

  • Children under eight (8) years of age shall properly use a child passenger restraint system which meets the federal standards as set by FMVSS213.
  • Children must be secured in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system until the age of 2 or until the child reaches the weight or height limit of the child restraint whichever occurs first
  • Children under 4 years old must be secured in a child passenger restraint system.
  • Children from 4 to 8 years of age who are less than 4’9” tall need to be restrained in a child restraint system or booster seat. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Children who are 8 or older or taller than 4’9” need to be restrained with a seat belt.

Oregon — (ORS 811.210(2)) [You’ll have to scroll down the page a ways]

  • Children must remain in a rear-facing child restraint until they are one year of age AND 20 pounds.
  • Children who weigh 40 pounds or less must be properly secured with a child safety system that meets the minimum standards and specifications established by the Department of Transportation under ORS 815.055 [which simply describes child restraint systems which meet FMVSS 213 standards] for child safety systems designed for children weighing 40 pounds or less. SR4K note: The RideSafer has been meeting or exceeding FMVSS-213 crash test requirements since 2004 for children who are at least 30 pounds.
  • Children who weigh more than 40 pounds and are 4’9″ or shorter must be properly secured with a child safety system that elevates the person so that a safety belt or safety harness properly fits the person. As used in this paragraph, “properly fits” means the lap belt of the safety belt or safety harness is positioned low across the thighs and the shoulder belt is positioned over the collarbone and away from the neck. SR4K note: Although the law states the child must be elevated as in a booster seat, it also clearly states in subsection (3)(b) (as seen below in second exception bullet) as long as a child is properly secured in a child safety system which meets FMVSS 213 (such as the RideSafer) this requirement does NOT apply. Plus the RideSafer is a harness system which makes the seatbelt “properly fit” the child as intended by the law.
    • Unless the rear seat of the vehicle is not equipped with lap-shoulder belts, then the child may be secured with a lap belt
    • OR if the child is properly secured with a child safety system that meets ORS 815.055 (see above) for children weighing more than 40 pounds.
  • Children who are taller than 4’9″ OR 8 years of age must be properly secured with a safety belt or safety harness.

For more information on Oregon Child Passenger Safety programs, click here.

Pennsylvania — (Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S. 4581)

  • Children under 2 years of age shall be securely fastened in aa rear-facing child passenger restraint system, to be used until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated by the manufacturer, as provided in subsection (d).
  • Children under 4 years of age shall be securely fastened in a child passenger restraint system as provided in subsection (d).
  • Children 4 years of age but younger than 8 years of age shall be securely in a fastened safety seat belt system and in an appropriately fitting child booster seat, as provided in subsection (d).
  • (d) Standards.–
    • (1) A child passenger restraint system shall be used as designated by the manufacturer of the system in motor vehicles equipped with seat safety belts and shall meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (49 C.F.R. § 571.213).
    • (2) A child booster seat shall be used as designated by the manufacturer of the system in motor vehicles equipped with seat safety belts and shall meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (49 CFR § 571.213) that is designed to elevate a child to properly sit in a federally approved safety seat belt system.
      • A “booster seat” is described in 49 CFR 571.213 as backless child restraint system or a belt-positioning seat. SR4K note: Using this definition, the RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Pennsylvania Code (the official codification of rules and regulations issued by Commonwealth agencies and other statutorily authorized documents) Chapter 102 (adopted under the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S. 4581) says:
    • (1) Children 4 years of age but younger than 8 years of age who weigh less than 40 pounds may, in lieu of use of a booster seat, be securely fastened in a child passenger restraint system appropriate for their height and weight in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer. SR4K note: Again, the RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older.
    • (2) Children 4 years of age but younger than 8 years of age riding in a passenger position in the vehicle which was not originally equipped with a shoulder safety seat belt shall be fastened in the safety seat belt system without the use of a child booster seat or may be fastened in a child passenger restraint system appropriate for their height and weight in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer.
    • (3) Children 4 years of age but younger than 8 years of age who weigh more than 80 pounds or who are of a height of 4 feet 9 inches or taller may be fastened in the safety seat belt system without the use of a child booster seat.
    • (c) Integrated child restraint or booster seat. The requirements of this chapter may be satisfied by securing a child, in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer, in a child passenger restraint system or vehicle seat designed to accommodate children under 80 pounds, which is integrated into the design of the vehicle by the vehicle manufacturer.

Rhode Island — (Section 31-22-22)

  • Children under the age of eight (8), less than fifty-seven (57) inches in height and less than eighty (80) pounds shall be properly restrained in a child restraint system approved FMVSS 213. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • If the child is under eight (8) years old but at least fifty-seven (57) inches in height, or at least eighty (80) pounds the child shall be properly wearing a safety belt and/or shoulder harness in any rear seating position of the motor vehicle.
  • Children more than eight (8) years but under eighteen (18) years of age in any seating position within a motor vehicle shall be properly wearing a safety belt and/or shoulder harness system.

South Carolina — (Title 56 Chapter 5 Article 47 SECTION 56-5-6410)

  1. Children from birth to 2 years old must be secured in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system which meets federal standards in the rear vehicle seat until the child exceeds the height or weight limit allowed by the manufacturer of the child restraint being used.
  2. Children at least 2, or under if they’ve outgrown their rear-facing seat, must be secured in a forward-facing child passenger restraint system with a harness in the rear vehicle seat until the child exceeds the height or weight limit allowed by the manufacturer of the child restraint being used.
  3. A child at least 4 years old who has outgrown their forward-facing child passenger restraint system seat must be secured by a belt-positioning booster seat secured in a rear seat of the vehicle with a lap-shoulder belt until they can meet the height and fit requirements for an adult safety seat belt.
  4. A child at least 8 years of age and at least 57 inches tall may be restrained in an adult safety belt if the child can be secured properly:
    • the lap belt fits across the child’s thighs and hips and not across the abdomen;
    • the shoulder belt crosses the center of the child’s chest and not the neck; and
    • the child is able to sit with his back straight against the vehicle seat back cushion with his knees bent over the vehicle’s seat edge without slouching.
  5. For medical reasons that are substantiated with written documentation from the child’s physician, advanced nurse practitioner, or physician assistant, a child who is unable to be transported in a standard child passenger safety restraint system may be transported in a child passenger safety restraint system designed for their medical needs.
  6. Any child restraint system of a type sufficient to meet the physical standards prescribed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at the time of its manufacture is sufficient to meet the requirements of this article. SR4K note: The last sentence of this law is what includes the RideSafer® as a legal option in South Carolina.

South Dakota — (32-37-1)

  • Children under 5 years of age shall be properly secured in a federally approved child restraint system according to manufacturer’s instructions. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • The requirements of this section are met if the child is under 5 years of age and at least 40 pounds by securing the child in a seat belt. SR4K notes: This is by NO means best practice. Most children should remain in some sort of child restraint until a much older age. Children typically don’t safely fit a vehicle’s seat belt until somewhere between 8 and 12 years old, most importantly when they reach 4’9″.
  • Children between the ages of 5 and 18 must wear a properly adjusted seat belt.

Tennessee — (T.C.A. 55-9-602)

  • Children under the age of 1 or weighing 20 pounds or less shall properly use a federally approved child passenger restraint system in a rear-facing position in a rear seat. SR4K note: Technically if you follow the “law” to the letter, you would not be following best practice. We believe for the safety of your children, you should follow best practice to the best of your ability. If you follow the link to the law posting on the state website, you’ll find notes about it being OK to use best practice recommendations ie. if the child restraint has a higher rear-facing weight limit, you can continue to rear face. Since most lawmakers have not been informed about the RideSafer there are no notes specifically in reference to it.
  • Children ages 1 to 3 and weighing more than 20 pounds shall properly use a federally approved child passenger restraint system in a forward-facing position in the rear seat.
  • Children ages 4 to 8 and measuring less than 4’9″ shall be properly restraint in a federally approved belt-positioning booster seat system in the rear seat. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest would fit the intent of this section as it is a belt-positioning child restraint system. See best practice recommendations.
  • If a child is not capable of being safely transported in a conventional child passenger restraint system a specially modified, professionally manufactured restraint (like the RideSafer) meeting the intent of this subsection can be used assuming the vehicle’s seat belt would not suffice. In such a case, a copy of a physician’s signed prescription for such a device must be available to be presented to law enforcement.

Texas — (Sec. 545.412 Texas Transportation Code)

While the Texas Department of Public Safety often uses the language “booster seat” in their description of the law for “booster”- age children, the actual complete child seat law states as follows:

  • Any child younger than 8 years of age must be secured in a child passenger safety seat system according to the instructions of the manufacturer of the safety seat system. Paragraph number f1 describes “child passenger safety seat system” as an infant or child passenger restraint system that meets the federal standards for crash-tested restraint systems as set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • In such a case as a child is under 8 years of age but at least four feet and nine inches in height, the child may use the vehicle seat belt.

Utah — (Title 41 Chapter 6a Section 1803 of Utah Code)

While the Utah Safety Council states the law correctly, they use the language “booster seat” in their answers to their FAQs. Paragraphs ii and b state the following:

  • The operator of a motor vehicle operated on a highway shall provide for the protection of a person younger than eight years of age by using a child restraint device to restrain each person in the manner prescribed by the manufacturer of the device. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Children younger than eight are not required to be in a child restraint if they are at least 57 inches tall. At that point, they should use the lap-shoulder belt.

Vermont — (23 V.S.A. § 1258)

  • Every occupant under age 18 must be properly restrained in a federally-approved child passenger restraining system or a federally-approved safety belt, as follows:
    • Children under the age of one or weighing less than 20 pounds shall be restrained in a rear-facing position, properly secured in a federally-approved child passenger restraining system, which shall not be installed in front of an active air bag.
    • Children who weigh more than 20 pounds and who are over the age of one but under the age of eight years, shall be restrained in a child passenger restraining system. SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
    • Children age 8 up to 18 years of age shall be restrained in a safety belt system or a child passenger restraining system.

Virginia — (Code of Virginia Article 13 – Section 46.2)

  • Children through the age of seven (until age 8) must be restrained with a child restraint device. Safety seats must be properly used and approved by Department of Transportation standards (FMVSS 213). SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Rear-facing child restraint devices must be placed in the back seat of a vehicle. In the event the vehicle does not have a back seat, the child restraint device may be placed in the front passenger seat only if the vehicle is either not equipped with a passenger side airbag or the passenger side airbag has been deactivated.
  • Children 8 years of age to 18 must be restrained using a vehicle seat belt.
  • Children can no longer ride unrestrained in the rear cargo area of vehicles.

Washington — (RCW 46.61.687)

  • Children younger than 8 years of age, unless they are 4’9″ tall (which ever comes first), must ride in a child restraint which complies with FMVSS 213. The restraint system must be used correctly according to the car seat AND vehicle manufacturer’s instructions. SR4K note: The Ride Safer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Children under 13 years old be transported in the back seat where it is practical to do so.
  • Children who are 8 years of age or older or 4′ 9″ or taller shall be properly restrained with the motor vehicle’s safety belt properly adjusted and fastened around the child’s body or an appropriately fitting child restraint system.

Washington D.C. — (DC Code section 50-1703)

  • The operator of a motor vehicle shall not transport any child under 16 years of age unless the child is properly restrained in an approved child safety restraint system or restrained in a seat belt.
    • Children under 8 years of age shall be properly seated in an installed infant, convertible (toddler) or booster child safety seat, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (A booster seat shall only be used with both a lap and shoulder belt.) SR4K note: The RideSafer Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.

West Virginia — (17C-15-46)

  • Children under the age of eight years shall be properly secured in a child passenger safety device system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards. SR4K note: The Ride Safer® Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Children under the age of eight years and at least four feet nine inches tall shall be sufficiently secured by the vehicle’s seat belt.

Wisconsin — (Chapter 347.48.4)

  • Children less than one year old or weighs less than 20 pounds shall be properly restrained in a federally approved rear-facing child safety restraint system positioned in the back seat of a vehicle, if the vehicle has a back seat.
  • Children who are at least one year and weighs at least 20 pounds but is less than 4 years old or weighs less than 40 pounds must be restrained as mentioned in section 1 — in a federally approved rear-facing — or a federally approved forward-facing child safety restraint system in the back seat of a vehicle, if the vehicle has a back seat. SR4K note: The Ride Safer® Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Children who are at least 4 years old and at least 40 pounds but less than 8 years old and weighs less than 80 pounds and is not more than 57 inches tall shall be properly restrained as mentioned in section 2 —in a federally approved forward-facing child safety restraint systemor a child booster seat. SR4K note: The RideSafer® Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older.
  • Children younger than 8 years old shall be properly restrained as mentioned in above sections or in a vehicle seat belt.

Wyoming — (31-5-1303)

  • Children age 8 and younger must be properly secured in a child safety restraint system in a seat of the vehicle other than the front seat unless the vehicle only has one row of seats or if all the seat belt positions in the rear are being used by other restrained children. No rear facing infant seat shall be placed in front of an active airbag. SR4K note: The RideSafer® Travel Vest qualifies for children 3 and older. See best practice recommendations.
  • Children 8 or younger may use the vehicle seat belt if the lap and shoulder belt fits properly across the collarbone, chest and hips of the child and the belts do not pose a danger to the neck, face or abdominal area of the child in the event of a crash or sudden stop.

U.S. Territories:

American Somoa

  • Any child under age four must be in a car seat.
  • Any child older than four must wear a safety belt.

Guam — (30-33)

  • Children younger than 4 be secured in a child restraint system which meets federal standards and is used within manufacturers guidelines while in transit.
  • Children ages 4 to 11 — who are less than 4 feet 9 inches tall — must be secured in a booster seat or other appropriately fitting child restraint system.

Northern Mariana Islands

  • Any child under age five or less than 70 pounds must be in a car seat.
  • Any child older than five or more than 70 pounds must wear a safety belt.

Puerto Rico

  • Children under 12 years old must travel in the back seat of a car
  • Children under four years use an appropriate child restraint
  • Children between 4 and 8 must be properly restrained. Some sites say in a booster seat and some said in a booster seat or other appropriate restraint, since I was unable at this time to find the text of the actual law I’m unclear as to the correct language.
  • All occupants must be properly restrained.

U.S. Virgin Islands

  • Any child under age five must be in a car seat.
  • In the case of a child aged three through five, seat belts can be used but the child must ride in the backseat.
  • Any child older than five but under twelve must wear a safety belt.

Other common international destinations:

Denmark and the Netherlands

  • Children must be properly restrained into an age-appropriate child restraint until they are 135 cm tall.
  • Children can ride in the rear seat of a taxi without a restraint — or wearing an adult seat belt if they are 3 or older — if the driver doesn’t provide an appropriate seat.

France

  • Children less than 10 years or less than 135 cm in height must use approved child restraint.
  • Taxis are legally exempt but it is still recommended to use a child restraint.

Germany

  • Children less than 12 years of age who are less than 150 cm tall must ride in a proper child restraint.
  • Taxis are not exempt so riders should bring their own child restraint or call ahead for a taxi with a child restraint.

Ireland

  • All children under 150cm (4ft 11in) in height or 36kgs (79lbs) in weight must use an appropriate child-restraint system.
  • Taxi drivers are exempt from supplying child car seats.

Italy

  • Children less than 150cm in height, regardless of the weight or age of the children, must use an appropriate child restraint.
  • Taxis are exempt from child restraint requirements.

Singapore

  • Anyone, irrespective of their age (yes, that means adults too), below the height of 1.35m (4’5”) will require to be secured with a child restraint appropriate for a person of that height and weight. The height of an individual was found to be more suitable in deciding the proper fitting of seat belts compared to one’s age.
  • Those with a height of 1.35m and above, irrespective of their age, will require wearing a seat belt. The law also notes that pregnant women are NOT exempt.
  • Adults below the height of 1.35m shall use booster seats or approved adjustable seat belts properly positioned to lower the risk of injury in the event of an accident.
  • Taxis are exempt. Children or persons below the height of 1.35m shall only ride in the rear of the taxis.

Spain

  • Children less than 135 cm tall are required to be properly restrained in a child restraint installed in the rear seat.
  • In taxis children are not required to use child restraints in city areas, but child restraints are required outside of the city.

United Kingdom

  • Children are required to use an appropriate child restraint until they’re 12-years old or 135cm (4ft 5in) tall.
  • Children can ride in the rear seat of a taxi without a restraint — or wearing an adult seat belt if they are 3 or older — if the driver doesn’t provide an appropriate seat.