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Motor Vehicle Occupant Protection
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Appendix C – State Child Restraint Laws1

State Rear Safety Belts Required2 Child Safety Seat Required May Use Child Safety Seat or Safety Belt Max Fine4 Points Major Exemptions to Child Passenger Laws6 Children Allowed in Cargo Area of Pickups?
AL <6 yrs <4 yrs Ages 4-5 yrs $10   To trucks or buses weighing >1 ton Yes
AK <16 yrs <4 yrs   $50 2 None No
AZ <16 yrs <5 yrs Age 5-15 yrs $10   All vehicle belts in use  
AR <15 yrs Age 6 yrs & >60 lbs Age 6 yrs or >60 lbs $100   None  
CA <16 yrs <6 yrs or <60 lbs   $100 1 None  
CO <16 yrs <4 yrs & <40 lbs & >4 yrs & <6 yrs & <55" tall17 Ages 6-15 & >40 lbs & 55" tall $56   Transported in motor vehicle as a result of a medical emergency Yes, if sitting & tailgate closed
CT <16 yrs <4 yrs and <60 lbs 40 lbs & over $60 2 None No
DE <16 yrs3 <6 yrs 60 lbs & over $20 2 No major exemptions No
DC <16 yrs <8 yrs Ages 8 yrs-16 yrs $150 3 All vehicle belts in use7 No
FL <16 yrs <4 yrs Age 4-5 yrs $60 3 None No
GA <16 yrs <5 yrs Not permissible $50 1 May use belt if age 5 and over If on non-interstate roadway
HI <18 yrs <3 yrs Age 4 yrs $100   All vehicle belts in use7 No13
ID >4 and <18 yrs <4 yrs or <40 lbs >4 or >40 lbs $60   All vehicle belts in use7,8 Yes
IL <16 yrs <8 yrs Ages 4-15 yrs, all seating positions $50   None Yes
IN <12 yrs <4 yrs Ages 4-16 yrs, all seating positions & vehicles $25 4 Vehicle registered out of State <16 yrs not allowed
IA <11 yrs <6 yrs21 Ages 6-10 yrs $25   Motorcycles, school buses, emergency vehicles & medical reasons per physician Yes
KS <14 yrs <4 yrs   $20   All vehicle belts in use If >13 yrs
KY <16 yrs 40" & Under   $50   None Yes
LA <13 yrs <6 yrs or 60 lbs Ages 3-13 yrs $100   Ambulances, school buses, church buses, commerical vehicles If >11 yrs
ME <12 yrs, <100 lbs <8 yrs Ages 4-17 yrs, <12 & 100 lbs $60   All vehicle belts in use9 <16 yrs not allowed
MD <16 yrs <6 yrs >40 lbs $25   All vehicle belts in use, vehicle registered out of State exempt No
MA <13 yrs <5 yrs or <60 lbs >Age 5 yrs $25   None If >16 yrs
MI <16 yrs <4 yrs   $15   All vehicle belts in use7 No12,13
MN <11 yrs <4 yrs   $50   Child being nursed No12,14
MS <8 yrs <4 yrs   $25   See footnote20 Yes
MO <16 yrs <4 yrs Ages 4-15 may use safety belts $25     No
MT <16 yrs <2 yrs Ages 2-6 or <60 lbs Up to $100   No more than 3 CSS required in a vehicle; physical or medical reasons per physician No13,14
NE <16 yrs <6 yrs   $25   Medical reasons per physician, emergency vehicles, taxi cabs No
NV <16 yrs <6 yrs, <80 lbs, & <55"   $500   Public transportation No
NH <18 yrs <6 yrs   $25   None No
NJ <18 yrs <8 yrs or 80 lbs   $25   All vehicle belts in use7 No
NM <16 yrs <1-4 yrs18 Ages 5-12 yrs $25   All vehicle belts in use19 No, if <18
NY <16 yrs <4 yrs   $100 3 None Yes15
NC <16 yrs <5 yrs, <40 lbs Ages 5-15 yrs     Child's personal needs being attended to If >11 yrs 12,14,16
ND <18 yrs <4 yrs Ages 4-17 yrs   1 All vehicle belts in use by family members, or transported in an emergency situation Yes
OH <4 yrs or <60 lbs <4 yrs or <60 lbs   $100   Vehicle registered out of State If traveling <25 mph12
OK <13 <6 yrs >6 but <13 $25   All vehicle belts in use Yes
OR <16 yrs20 <4 yrs or <40 lbs Age 6 yrs & >60 lbs $94   None unless all belted positions taken Yes
PA <16 yrs <4 yrs   $25   None Yes
RI <17 yrs <7 yrs & 54" & 80 lbs in Federally Approved Child Restraint System in back seat Age 7 yrs or older $75   All vehicle belts in use No, up to age 16
SC <17 yrs <5 yrs or <80 lbs >1 but <6 years $25   If all vehicle belts in use Yes
SD <18 yrs <5 yrs & <40 lbs Ages 5-17, & > 40 lbs $20   None Yes
TN <18 yrs <4 yrs25   $505   All vehicle belts in use8,10 If >5 yrs or moving <20 mph
TX <17 yrs <4 yrs or <36" Ages 4-16 yrs $200   All vehicle belts in use <17 yrs not allowed
UT <19 yrs <5 yrs Ages 5-18 yrs $45   All vehicle belts in use, physical or medical reasons per physician No
VT <16 yrs <8 yrs   $25   All vehicle belts in use11 Yes
VA <16 yrs <5 yrs Ages 6-15 $50 3 No major exemptions Yes
WA <16 yrs <6 yrs or <60 lbs Ages 6-16 yrs23 $101   No major exemptions24 Yes
WV <16 yrs <3 yrs Ages 3-8 yrs $20   All vehicle belts in use No
WI <8 yrs <4 yrs Ages 4-8 yrs $75   Attending to child's personal needs No14
WY <12 yrs <8 yrs & <80 lbs properly secured in CRS in back seat22 Ages 5-11 yrs $50   Physician provides medical exemptions, rendering aid and or assistance to child by parent/guardian Yes
PR All persons, all ages, unless in a safety seat must wear a safety belt <5 yrs <12 must ride in back seat $100   None No


1This chart applies to children younger than age 19. As of the printing of this document, 24 States & DC have enacted legislation to address booster seat age children. Legislation varies from State to State.

2Front seat restraints are required for all children younger than 16.

3Children < 12 years old and < 66 inches may not occupy front seat if equipped with passenger-side air bag.

4Maximum fine for first offense of child safety seat laws. Fines may be different for older children.

5Or 30 days in jail.

6Major exemptions are considered to be exemptions in private passenger vehicles (cars, vans, or pickups). Many States have exemptions for buses, taxis, or other public transportation, children with medical conditions, and emergency situations.

7Unrestrained children must be in the rear.

8Law does not apply if the child’s personal or physiological needs are being met.

9Only for children > 1 year old.

10Only for ages 4 through 11.

11Only for children older than age 4.

12Unless properly restrained in a safety belt or child safety seat.

13Unless number of children exceeds number of safety belts available.

14Unless used in farm work or farm activity.

15Unless there are more than five children younger than age 18 not accompanied by a person older than 18.

16Unless supervised by an adult.

17Effective 8/1/03, secondary enforcement and 1-year warning period.

18< 1yr rear-facing CSS; age 1-4 child passenger restraint device or < 40 lbs.

19Or riding in an emergency vehicle, public transportation, or school bus.

20If there are more passengers than available safety belts, the driver/passengers are not in violation; public carriers for hire are exempted.

21Enacted July 2004 with condition of an 18-month education phase-in period.

22Unless the vehicle has only one row of seats, then the child can be placed in the front, as of 7/1/03.

23May use safety belt only if properly adjusted and fastened.

24The CPS law does not apply if the child is booster seat age/size and the vehicle has lap-only safety belts.

25Beginning 7/1/04, child < 1 or < 20 pounds in rear-facing safety seat.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

The Need To Promote Occupant Restraint Use for Children, Youth, and 16- to 20-Year-Olds

Facts About Children and Youth

Facts About Young Adults Ages 16 to 20

Appendices
  •  
  • Appendix A: Persons Killed in Motor Vehicle Crashes, by State and Age Group, 2002
  •  
  • Appendix B: Passenger Vehicle Occupants Killed in Motor Vehicle Crashes, by State and Restraint Use, 2002
  •  
  • Appendix C: State Child Restraint Laws

    For Additional Information

    Charts