Child Passenger Safety

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The chart below describes the statewide laws related to child passenger safety across the country. Use the arrows below the chart to toggle through the states in alphabetical order. To advance slowly, click the single right arrow (>). To jump to the end, click the double arrows (>>). Or use the filter by state feature to jump to a specific state.
 
Scroll down for a summary and overall totals of the number of states that have specific provisions.

Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming
Child Restraint Required

Under 2 years – rear-facing child restraint

2 to 4 years – child restraint with harness (rear or forward-facing)

4 years and older – car or booster seat until 4’9”

Up to age 13 years – must ride in back seat when practical

Child Restraint Required

7 yrs or under and under 4'9" tall

Child Restraint Required

Under 1 yr or under 20 lbs in rear-facing child restraint 
1-3 yrs and 20-40 lbs must be in either a rear- or forward-facing child restraint 
4-7 yrs and 40-80 lbs and under 57" tall must be in either a rear- or forward-facing child restraint or a booster seat
Under 4 years and less than 40 lbs, or if the child is in a rear- or forward-facing child restraint, they mist be in the rear vehicle seat, if available

Child Restraint Required

8 yrs or under in rear seat if available

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

4’9” or taller

Adult seat belt fits properly

40 lbs or over in seating position with only lap belt

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

8 yrs and older and 4'9" or taller

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

8 yrs or older or more than 80 lbs or taller than 57"

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

9 yrs or older

Child Restraint Required

Under 2 years – rear-facing child restraint

2 to 4 years – child restraint with harness (rear or forward-facing)

4 years and older – car or booster seat until 4’9”

Up to age 13 years – must ride in back seat when practical

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

4’9” or taller

Adult seat belt fits properly

40 lbs or over in seating position with only lap belt

Child Restraint Required

7 yrs or under and under 4'9" tall

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

8 yrs and older and 4'9" or taller

Child Restraint Required

Under 1 yr or under 20 lbs in rear-facing child restraint 
1-3 yrs and 20-40 lbs must be in either a rear- or forward-facing child restraint 
4-7 yrs and 40-80 lbs and under 57" tall must be in either a rear- or forward-facing child restraint or a booster seat
Under 4 years and less than 40 lbs, or if the child is in a rear- or forward-facing child restraint, they mist be in the rear vehicle seat, if available

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

8 yrs or older or more than 80 lbs or taller than 57"

Child Restraint Required

8 yrs or under in rear seat if available

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

9 yrs or older

Child Passenger Safety

All states and territories require child safety seats for infants and children fitting specific criteria, but requirements vary based on age, weight and height. This happens in three stages: rear-facing; forward-facing (harnessed) seats; and booster seats.

Many laws require all children to ride in the rear seat whenever possible, and most states permit children over a particular age, height or weight to use an adult safety belt.

First offense fines for not complying with a state's child passenger safety laws vary from $10 to $500. Some states also use driver's license points as an additional penalty for noncompliance.

  • All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico require booster seats or other appropriate devices for children who have outgrown their child safety seats but are still too small to use an adult seat belt safely.
  • 23 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands require children younger than two be in a rear-facing child safety seat.

NOTE: GHSA does not compile any additional data on child passenger safety laws other than what is presented here. For more information, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Offices.