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.

Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut
Child Restraint Required

5 yrs and under and under 60 lbs

Child Restraint Required

In rear-facing car seat under 2 yrs unless child weighs 40 or more lbs or is 40" or more inches tall

Under 8 yrs and under 57" tall in car seat or booster seat in the back seat

Child Restraint Required

Under 1 yrs and under 20 lbs in rear-facing seat in rear seat if available
1-3 yrs and 20-40 lbs in child safety seat
4-7 yrs in booster seat

Child Restraint Required

Under 2 yrs or under 30 lbs in rear-facing restraint system
2-4 yrs or 30-40 lbs in child restraint system
5-7 yrs or 40-60 lbs in child restraint or booster seat
Booster seats only with a lap and shoulder belt

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

6-14 yrs or 60 lbs and over

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

8 yrs or at least 4'9" in booster seat, but at min. safety belt 16 yrs and over

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

8-15 yrs

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

8-15 years and 60 lbs or over

Child Restraint Required

5 yrs and under and under 60 lbs

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

6-14 yrs or 60 lbs and over

Child Restraint Required

In rear-facing car seat under 2 yrs unless child weighs 40 or more lbs or is 40" or more inches tall

Under 8 yrs and under 57" tall in car seat or booster seat in the back seat

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

8 yrs or at least 4'9" in booster seat, but at min. safety belt 16 yrs and over

Child Restraint Required

Under 1 yrs and under 20 lbs in rear-facing seat in rear seat if available
1-3 yrs and 20-40 lbs in child safety seat
4-7 yrs in booster seat

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

8-15 yrs

Child Restraint Required

Under 2 yrs or under 30 lbs in rear-facing restraint system
2-4 yrs or 30-40 lbs in child restraint system
5-7 yrs or 40-60 lbs in child restraint or booster seat
Booster seats only with a lap and shoulder belt

Adult Safety Belt Permissible

8-15 years and 60 lbs or over

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.