Child Passenger Safety (Click here for Canada)

United States

Alabama

Children ages 6 until 15 are required to wear a seat belt in all seats.

Booster seats or child safety seats are required until age 6.

Children must be in forward-facing seats or convertible seats until age 5 or 40 lbs. Infant seats and convertible seats are required to be rear-facing until passenger is at least 1 year old or 20 lbs. in weight.

All child restraint laws are standard enforcement.

Alaska

Children between age 8 and 16 who are less than 57 inches in height and under 65 lbs. shall be restrained in a child safety device or seat belt as determined by the driver.

Children over 4, taller than 57 inches, and weighing more than 65 lbs. shall be restrained in a seat belt.

Children between 4 and 8 years old, less than 57 inches in height, and weighing 20 to 65 lbs. must be secured in a booster seat or child safety seat.

Children between 1 and 5 years old and weighing 20 lbs. or more must be secured in a child restraint device.

Children less than one year of age or weighing less than 20 lbs. must be secured in a rear-facing child safety seat.

Violation of the child passenger safety law is a standard offense.

Arizona

Children under 16 are required to be properly restrained in all seats.

Children who are age 5 to 8 and 57 inches or less in height must use a booster seat.

Child restraints are required for children under age 5.

Violation of the child restraint law is a primary offense.

Arkansas

Children ages 6 until 15 or at least 60 lbs. are required to be restrained in a seat belt.

Child restraints are required for children under age 6 and under 60 lbs.

All occupants must wear a seat belt when the vehicle is being operated by a driver with an intermediate license.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

California

Children under age 8 and under 57” must be properly secured in a child restraint system.  All other children age 8 to 16 or over 57″ must be secured in a properly fitted seat belt.

Children under age 8 must be restrained in a child passenger restraint system in the rear seat.

California law specifically requires children to be properly restrained, meaning the lap belt is low on the hips, touching the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt is crossing the center of the chest.

Children in rear-facing car seats may not ride in front if there is an active passenger air bag.

Violation of the child passenger safety law is a standard offense.

Colorado

Children ages 8 until 16 must wear seat belts.

Children under age 8 must use a forward facing car seat or booster seat

Children under age 4 and less than 40 lbs., shall be properly restrained in a child restraint system.

Children under age 1 and under 20 lbs. shall use a rear-facing child restraint system.

Violation of the booster seat and the child restraint law are standard offenses.

Connecticut

Children over 7 years of age who weigh more than 60 lbs. must be in a seat belt.

Children under age 7 and less than 60 lbs. are required to use a child restraint. Children who ride in a booster seat must use a lap and shoulder belt.

Children under age 5 and more than 20 lbs. must use a forward-facing child restraint.

Children under age 1 and under 20 lbs. are required to be in a rear-facing child restraint.

Children riding in a vehicle without lap and shoulder belts are exempt from complying with the booster seat requirement.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Delaware

No child who is 65 inches or under in height or who is under age 12 shall occupy the front passenger seat of any vehicle equipped with a passenger-side airbag that has not been deliberately rendered inoperable.

Children under age 8 and under 66 lbs. must be properly restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards appropriate for the child’s weight and height.

Violations of the child restraint laws are standard offenses.

The maximum fine for the first offense for a violation of the child restraint law is $25.

District of Columbia

Children ages 8 until 16 are required to be restrained in a child restraint or seat belt.

Children under age 8 are required to be restrained in a child restraint.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Florida

Children ages 4 until 18 must be restrained in a child restraint or seat belt.

Children under age 4 are required to use a child restraint.  Effective January 1, 2015, children under age 6 are required to use a booster seat.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Georgia

Children ages 8 until 18 and over 4 feet 9 inches are required to be in a seat belt in all seats.

Children under age 8 and under 4 feet 9 inches are required to be in a child restraint installed and being used in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions, if available, in the rear seat.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Hawaii

Children ages 8 until 17 are required to wear a seat belt in all seats. Children ages 4 until 8 must ride in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they are over 4 feet 9 inches or weigh more than 40 lbs.

Children under age 4 must be restrained in a child passenger restraint system.

Children over 40 lbs. may be belted without a booster seat if they are seated in the rear seat of a vehicle equipped with only a lap belt.

Violations of the child restraint laws are standard offenses.

Idaho

Children under age 7 are required to be in a child safety restraint.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Illinois

Children under age 8 are required to be properly secured in a child restraint system.

Children over 40 lbs. may be transported in the back seat of a vehicle with only a lap belt if the back seat is not equipped with a lap and shoulder belt.

Violations of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Indiana

Children ages 8 until 16 are required to be in either a seat belt or a child restraint.

Children under age 8 must be properly restrained in a child restraint system.

Children over 40 lbs. may be transported in the back seat of a vehicle with only a lap belt if the back seat is not equipped with a lap and shoulder belt.

Violations of the child restraint laws are standard offenses.

Vehicles participating in a funeral procession are exempt from complying with child restraint laws.

Iowa

Children ages 6 until 18 must be restrained in either a seat belt or child restraint system.

Children under age 6 must be restrained in a child restraint.

Infants under age 1 and under 20 lbs. must be restrained in a rear-facing safety seat.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Kansas

Children ages 8 until 18, over 80 lbs., or over 4 feet 9 inches must properly wear a seat belt.

Children under age 4 until 8 who weigh less than 80 lbs. or are less than 4 feet 9 inches are required to be properly restrained in a child passenger safety restraint system or booster seat.

Children under age 4 are required to be in a child restraint system.

Violation of the child restraints laws are standard offenses.

Kentucky

Children under 7 years old and between 40 and 50 inches in height must be secured using a booster seat.

Children 40 inches or less must be properly secured in a child restraint system.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Louisiana

Children ages 6 until 13 or more than 60 lbs. must be restrained in either a booster seat or a seat belt regardless of seating position. When the passenger side front airbag is active, children younger than age 6 or less than 60 lbs. must be in the rear seat, if available.

Children 4 and 5 years of age or 40-60 lbs. must be restrained in a booster seat.

Children ages 1 until 4 or 20-40 lbs. must be restrained in a forward-facing child safety seat. Children under age 1 year or less than 20 lbs. must be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat.

Children who because of age and weight can be placed in more than one category shall be placed in the more protective restraint.

Violations of the child restraint laws are standard offenses.

Maine

Children ages 8 until 18 and more than 4 feet 9 inches tall must be properly secured in a seat belt.

Children under age 12 and under 100 lbs. must be in the rear seat of a vehicle, if possible.

Children who weigh 40-80 lbs. and are under age 8 must be properly secured in a booster seat or child safety seat.

Children under 40 lbs. must be properly secured in a child safety seat that meets federal standards and properly secured in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Maryland

Children under age 16 must be restrained in a seat belt or a child safety seat.

All children under age 8 must be secured in a child safety seat unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Massachusetts

Children age 8 through age 12 shall use an appropriate child restraint or wear a safety belt that is properly adjusted and fastened.

Children under age 8 and less than 4 feet 9 inches tall shall be properly fastened and secured by a child restraint system.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Michigan

Children under age 16 must wear a seat belt or be in an approved restraint system regardless of where they sit in the vehicle.

Children under age 8 and less than 4 feet 9 inches shall be properly secured in a booster seat or child restraint system.

Children under age 4 must be properly secured in a child restraint system in the rear seat, if possible.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Minnesota

 Children under age 8 and under 4 feet 9 inches are required to be in a child restraint.

Violations of the child restraint laws are standard offenses.

Mississippi

Children age 4 through 6 who are less than 4 feet 9 inches tall and weigh less than 65 pounds are required to be secured in a booster seat.

Children under age 4 shall be properly restrained in a child passenger restraint device.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Missouri

Children ages 8 until 16 who weigh at least 80 lbs. or are taller than 4 feet 9 inches must use a seat belt or appropriate booster seat.

Children ages 4 until 8 must ride in a booster seat or appropriate child restraint system, unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches or weigh more than 80 lbs.

Children less than age 4 or less than 40 lbs. must be secured in a child passenger restraint system.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Montana

Children under age 6 and weighing less than 60 lbs. must be properly restrained in a child restraint device, appropriate for the height and weight of the child as indicated by manufacturer standards.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense, though a violation of the booster seat law is a secondary offense.

Nebraska

Children ages 6 until 18 are required to ride secured in an occupant protection system in all seating positions.

Children under age 6 are required to be in a child restraint system.

Violation of the child restraint law is a primary offense.

Nevada

Children under age 6 and who weigh less than 60 lbs. must be secured in a child passenger restraint system.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

New Hampshire

Seat belts are required for all passengers under age 18.

Children less than age 6 and under 55 inches (effective January 1, 2014, children under age 7 and under 57 inches)must be properly fastened and secured by a child passenger restraint system.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

New Jersey

Children under age 8 and weighing less than 80 lbs. must be in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat in the rear seat, if possible.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

New Mexico

Children under 18 must be properly restrained in a child restraint device or a seat belt.

Children ages 5 and 6 or less than 60 lbs. must be restrained in a booster seat or appropriate child safety seat.

Children ages 1 through 4 or weighing less than 40 lbs. must be properly secured in a child passenger restraint device.

Children under 1 year old must be placed in a rear-facing child safety seat in the rear seat, if it is available.

Violations of the child restraint law are standard offenses.

New York

All children ages 8 to 16 must wear a seat belt in all seats.

All children ages 4 until 8, or under 4 and over 40 lbs., must be restrained in a booster seat.

Children under age 4 and under 40 lbs. must be restrained in a child restraint system.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

North Carolina

Children ages 8 until 16 must be secured in either a child passenger restraint system or a seat belt.

Children under age 8 and less than 80 lbs. must be secured in a child passenger restraint system. If the vehicle has a passenger-side air bag and a rear seat, the child must be secured in a rear seat unless the restraint system is designed for use with air bags.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense, but secondary for rear seat occupants age 16 and older.

North Dakota

Children ages 7 until 18 must be in an approved child restraint system or in a seat belt.

Children under age 7 and less than 4 feet 9 inches and 80 lbs. must be properly secured in a child restraint system.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Ohio

Children ages 8 until 15 are required to be in either a seat belt or a child restraint.

Children age 4 -8 and under 4 feet 9 inches must be seated in a booster seat.

Children under age 4 and weighing less than 40 lbs. must be secured in a child restraint system when being transported in a motor vehicle.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense for children under age 4.

Oklahoma

Children ages 6 until 13 must be properly restrained in either a child passenger restraint system or a seat belt regardless of seating position.

Children under age 6 must be properly restrained in a child passenger restraint system.

Children weighing more than 40 lbs. may be transported in the back seat of the 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.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Oregon

Children under 8 weighing more than 40 lbs. and who are 4 feet 9 inches or shorter, must ride in a child safety system which elevates them (i.e. booster seat) so the lap and shoulder belt fit them properly.

Child passengers who weigh 40 lbs. or less must be properly secured in a child safety system.

Child passengers under 1 year of age, regardless of weight, or children who weigh 20 lbs. or less, must be properly secured in a child safety system in a rear-facing position.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Pennsylvania

Children ages 8 until 18 must be restrained in all seating positions in a properly adjusted and fastened safety seat belt system.

Children ages 4 until 8 must be securely fastened in a booster seat.

Children under age 4 must be securely fastened in a child passenger restraint system.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Rhode Island

Children age 8 until 18, or less than 8 and who are more than 57 inches or weighing more than 80 lbs. are required to be in a seat belt.

All children under age 8 shall be properly restrained in the rear seat of the vehicle.

Children under age 8, less than 57 inches, and less than 80 lbs. must be transported in the rear seat and properly restrained in a child restraint system.

A violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

South Carolina

Children ages 1 until 6 and weighing more than 80 lbs. must be restrained in a seat belt. A child under 6 years who can sit with his or her knees bent over the vehicle seat edge when sitting up straight with his or her back firmly against the seat may wear a seat belt.

Children ages 1 until 6 and weighing 40 to 80 lbs. must be properly restrained in a booster seat.

Children ages 1 until 6 and weighing 20 to 40 lbs. must be properly restrained in a child seat.

Children under age 6 must ride in the rear seat of the vehicle. This does not apply if all rear seats are taken by children under 6.

Children under age 1 or under 20 lbs. must be properly restrained in a rear-facing child seat.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

South Dakota

Children under age 18 must wear a seat belt.

Children under age 5 and weighing less than 40 lbs. must be properly restrained in a child restraint system.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Tennessee

Children ages 9 until 16 must be properly restrained in a seat belt.

Children under age 9 are required to be seated in the rear seat of the vehicle, if available and children ages 9 until 13 are encouraged to be seated in the rear seat of the vehicle, if available.

Children ages 4 until 9 and less than 4 feet 9 inches must be properly restrained in a booster seat.

Children ages 1 until 4 weighing more than 20 lbs. must be properly restrained in a child seat.

Children less than 1 year or less than 20 lbs. must be properly restrained in a rear-facing child seat.

Violation of the child restraint laws is a standard offense.

Texas

Children ages 8 until 17 or at least 57 inches must be secured by a safety belt provided that the child is occupying a seat equipped with a safety belt.

Children under age 8 and less than 57 inches must be secured in a child passenger safety seat system in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Utah

Children under age 8 are required to use a child restraint system unless the child is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Vermont

Children ages 8 until 18 must be restrained in a child safety seat or seat belt.

Children ages 2 until 8 and more than 20 lbs. must be properly restrained in a federally approved child passenger restraint system.

Children age 1 and under and less than 20 lbs. must be restrained in a rear-facing infant seat.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Virginia

Children ages 8 until 18 must be secured in a child restraint, booster seat, or safety belt regardless of seating position.

Children under age 8 must be secured in a child restraint or booster seat, as appropriate.

Children under 1 year must be restrained in a rear-facing infant seat.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Washington

Seat belts or appropriate child safety seats are required for children under age 16.

An appropriate fitting child restraint system, installed in accordance with the instructions of the vehicle manufacturer and child restraint system, is required until a child is age 8, unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller

Children under age 13 must be in the rear seat where it is practical to do so.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

West Virginia

Children ages 8 until 18 must be in a seat belt in all seats.

Children under age 8 must be restrained in a child passenger safety device.

Children under age 8 and at least 4 feet 9 inches may be in a safety belt in all seats.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Wisconsin

Children must ride in a rear-facing car seat until the age of 1 and at least 20 lbs.

Then they must ride in a forward-facing child seat until age 4 or they weigh more than 40 lbs. Children under age 4 must be properly secured in a child restraint system in the rear seat, if possible. They must then ride in a booster seat until they turn 8, weigh more than 80 lbs., or are taller than 4 feet 9 inches. Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Wyoming

Children under age 9 must be secured in a child safety restraint system. The child must be restrained in the rear seat unless the vehicle has only 1 row of seats, then the child may be secured in a child safety restraint system in the front seat.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Puerto Rico

Children under the age of 4 years traveling on public highways must be in protective car seat (exempts handicapped or incapacitated children).  Children age 4 until 9 or under 57 inches must be in a booster seat.  Children age 9 and older or over 57 inches must be using seat belt properly.  The driver is responsible for compliance with provision and subject to penalty for failure to comply.

Children under age 12 must be in the rear seat of a vehicle, if possible.


Canada

Alberta

It is not permissible to operate a vehicle with a child passenger unless: (1) the motor vehicle is equipped with a child seating assembly; (2) the child seating assembly is properly installed; and (3) the child is occupying and properly secured in the child seating assembly.

It is not permissible to operate a motor vehicle on the highway with a passenger at least 6 years of age but under 16 years, or a child weighing more than 18 kg., occupying a seating position with a seat belt assembly unless the passenger is wearing the complete seat belt assembly.

A child from birth up to 9 kg. can be in either a rear-facing infant seat or a rear-facing convertible seat, used and installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

A child weighing 9 to 18 kg. must be in a child safety seat and be properly secured by using the vehicle seat belt and the child safety seat tether strap.

When a child is over 18 kg., an approved booster seat for the vehicle or the vehicle seat belt may be used.

British Columbia

All infants must be properly secured in an approved rear-facing infant seat away from an active frontal airbag until they reach a weight of 9 kg and 1 year old.

All children weighting 9-18 kg must be secured in an approved child seat.

All children must be restrained in an age and weight appropriate child seat until 9 years of age, unless they have reached the height of 145 cm tall.

Manitoba

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle when a passenger at least 5 but not yet 18 years of age, or a passenger under the age of 5 that weighs over 23 kg, is not wearing a passenger restraint. When the passenger restraint consists of a separate pelvic and torso restraint, the driver and passengers may wear the pelvic restraint only.

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a passenger age 5 until 9 years of age or under 145 cm or under 36 kg who is not secured using a booster seat.

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a passenger under 5 years of age and under 23 kg who is not fastened in a child restraint device.

New Brunswick

A person driving a motor vehicle on a highway with a passenger 9 – 16 years and more than 36 (79-80 lbs.) kg or more than 145 cm (4′ 9″) must ensure that the passenger: (1) is wearing the complete seat belt assembly in a properly adjusted and securely fastened manner, or (2) is occupying and properly secured in a child seating and restraint system.

A person driving a motor vehicle on a highway must ensure that passengers 18 kg (40 lbs.) or less occupy and are properly secured in an appropriate child seating and restraint system. Children who weigh 18-36 kg (40-80 lbs.) but under 9 years old or under 145 cm may be in a booster seat. Children who weigh less than 9 kg (20 lbs.) are required to be secured in either an infant carrier or convertible seat adjusted to the rear-facing position while riding in vehicles where there is an available seating position fitted with a seat belt.

Newfoundland and Labrador

A child who weighs less than 9 kg must be secured in a rear-facing infant car seat.

A child who weighs 9 kg or more but less than 18 kg must be secured in a child car seat or an infant car sear as recommended by the manufacturer.

A child who is under age 8 and weighs more than 18 kg but less than 37 kg and is less than 145 cm in height must be secured in a booster seat and the vehicle’s complete seat belt assembly, or in a child car seat as recommended by the manufacturer.

These requirements do not apply if the driver holds a certified report by a qualified physician stating that the child cannot be placed in the restraint system because of medical reasons.

A child who is under age 16 must wear a properly secured and fastened seat belt regardless of seating position.

Northwest Territories

All children weighing less than 18 kg are required to be in a child restraint system when in a motor vehicle. Children weighing less than 9 kg must be secured in a rearward facing child restraint system.

Nova Scotia

Children under 1 year of age and under 10 kg. (22 lbs.) must be in a rear-facing child safety seat. Children under 18 kg. (40 lbs.) must be in a child restraint system. Children over 40 lbs. but less than 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches) or under 9 years old may be placed in a booster seat. Safety belts may be used at age 9 or above 145 cm.

A vehicle registered in a jurisdiction which does not require the use of a child restraint system for a toddler must secure the toddler in a lap belt, at a minimum if a lap belt is available to that child.

Nunavut

No person shall operate, on a highway, a motor vehicle in which there is a passenger under 15 of the prescribed size or weight unless that passenger is properly secured in a prescribed child restraint system or seat belt.

A toddler between 9kg and 18kg shall be secured in a child restraint system

An infant under 9kg shall be secured in a rearward facing child restraint system

Ontario

Children 8 until 16 and 36 kg or more or taller than 145 cm are required to be in a seat belt; child restraint required for children under 8 and under 36 kg or under 145 cm.

Prince Edward Island

Children under 10 years and under 145 cm (4 feet 7 inches) are required to be in a child safety seat.

Children under 10 kg (22 lbs.) must be secured in a rear-facing child safety seat. Children under 18 kg (40 lbs.) must ride in a forward-facing child safety seat. Children may ride in a booster seat if they are over 18 kg (40 lbs.), under 145 cm, and age 9 or less.

Quebec

Children whose seated height is less than 63 cm are required to be in a child restraint.

Saskatchewan

All passengers under age 16 must be properly restrained.

If the child passenger weighs less than 18 kg, that passenger must be placed in an age and weight appropriate child or infant restraint system. This child or infant restraint system must be properly adjusted and securely fastened in the manner recommended by the manufacturer.

Yukon

Children under 6 years of age and under 22 kg must be secured in a child restraint system. A child weighing less than 9 kg must be secured in an infant restraint system. A child weighing 9 to 22 kg must be secured in a child restraint system. Children weighing over 18 kg may use a booster seat. Children weighing over 22 kg may use a standard seat belt.