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State Laws for Car Seats

A Look at Child Passenger Restraint Laws in the United States

By

car seat laws

A 15 month old sits in her rear-facing convertible car seat.

Jennifer White

There are no federal laws for child passengers. Instead every state has its own safety laws. This alphabetical listing of state laws for car seats includes information on rear facing car seats, child seats, booster seats, and seat belt laws.

Refer to page 1 for a full explanation of the chart's information.

Alphabetical listings: Alabama - Hawaii| Idaho - Montana | Nebraska - Oregon | Pennsylvania - Wyoming

Information updated as of August 2012. Also be sure to check the car or booster seat expiration date.

State Rear Facing Seat Law Child Seat Seat Law Booster Seat Law Seat Belt Law
Pennsylvania No specific law. Refer to car seat notation. All children under age 4 ride in a federally approved, properly restrained, appropriate car seat or booster seat. All children age 4-8 and under in a properly restrained, appropriate car seat or booster 8 - 18
Rhode Island No specific law. Refer to booster seat notation. Refer to booster seat notation. All children under age 7, under 54" and less than 80 lbs in a properly restrained, appropriate car seat or booster Older than 7 and more than 80 lbs and 54" through adults must wear a seat belt.
South Carolina Until at least one year old and weigh 20 lbs or more Children ages 1 to 5 who weigh 20 to 40 lbs must ride in a car seat. All children under age 6 who weigh 40 to 80 pounds must use a booster seat All drivers and passengers must wear a seat belt. Children under the age of 6 are not required to be in booster seats if they weigh more than 80 pounds or if they can sit with their backs against the car's seat and bend their legs over the seat edge without slouching.
South Dakota No specific law. Refer to booster seat notation. Refer to booster seat notation. All children under 8 in a s 4'9" tall Children 5 and older and more than 40 lbs - 17
Tennessee Under age 1 rear-facing and weighing less than 20 lbs Under age 4 in a child safety seat All children ages 4 through 8 and less than 57"in booster seat Age 8 and more than 57" - 16
Texas No specific law. Refer to booster seat notation. Refer to booster seat notation. All children 8 and under in a federally approved, properly restrained, appropriate car seat or booster seat unless taller than 57". Age 8 or taller than 57" - 17
Utah No specific law. Refer to booster seat notation. Refer to booster seat notation. All children under 8 in a properly restrained, appropriate car seat or booster. Age 8 or taller than 57" through adults must wear a safety belt.
Vermont Under age 1 rear-facing and weighing less than 20 lbs Refer to booster seat notation. All children under age 8 in a federally approved, properly restrained, appropriate car seat or booster. Age 8 - 15
Virginia No specific law. Refer to booster seat notation. Refer to booster seat notation. All children under age 8 must ride in a federally approved car seat or booster. 8 - 15
Washington Under age 1 rear-facing and weighing less than 20 lbs. Refer to booster seat notation. Under age 8 unless taller than 57" in a properly restrained, appropriate car seat or booster. Age 8 (or taller than 57") - 15
West Virginia No specific law. Refer to booster seat notation. Refer to booster seat notation. All children under age 8 unless taller than 57" in a properly restrained, appropriate car seat or booster. All passengers from age 8 (or taller than 57")
Wisconsin No specific law. Refer to car seat notation. All children under age 4 in a properly restrained, appropriate car seat All children under age 4 to 8 in a properly restrained, appropriate car seat or booster. All passengers from age 8 (or taller than 57")
Wyoming No specific law. Refer to car seat notation. Refer to booster seat notation All children under 8 and younger and under 80 lbs in a properly restrained, appropriate car seat or booster. All passengers from age 9 through adulthood
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