What are the car seat laws in regard to a booster seat?
Children 2 to 5 years of age prematurely using safety belts are four times more likely to suffer a serious head injury in an auto accident than kids who are restrained in safety seats or booster seats. State laws should require children to be in age-and size-appropriate child safety seats or seat belts. However, most state child car seat laws are very vague. See the grid below for more inforamtion on car seat laws.
Parents should remember that it’s not age that determines when a child no longer has to ride in a child safety seat, it’s weight and height. Children who are shorter and thinner than their peers may need to ride in a safety seat for a bit longer in order to stay safe.
The best way to determine if your child needs a booster seat is “The 5-Step Test.”
- Can my child sit all the way back against the car seat?
- Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
- Does the belt cross the shoulder between his neck and arm?
- Can his knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
- Can my child stay seated like this for the entire duration of the trip?
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, your child needs a booster seat to make both the shoulder belt and the lap belt fit right for the best crash protection. Your child will be more comfortable, too!
|Alabama||ages 4-8 and over 40 pounds|
|Alaska||over 4 years of age but less than 8 years of age, is less than 57 inches in height and weighs 20-65 pounds|
|Arizona||car seat until they reach 80 pounds and 57 inches tall|
|Arkansas||under 6 years old or 60 pounds|
|California||age of 6 weighing less than 60 pounds|
|Colorado||all children younger than 8 years old|
|Connecticut||6 years of age and 60 pounds|
|Delaware||up to 8 years of age or 65 pounds, whichever comes first|
|Florida||5 and under|
|Georgia||over 40 pounds, over 57 inches tall, and under age 6|
|Indiana||8 and under|
|Kansas||ages 4-7, weighs more than 80 pounds, or is taller than 57 inches|
|Kentucky||under 7 years of age and 40-50 inches tall|
|Louisiana||ages 4-6 and weighing 40-60 pounds|
|Maine||8 years old and 57 inches|
|Maryland||under 8 years old or 57 inches tall or weighs more than 65 pounds|
|Massachusetts||children 5-12 who weigh more than 40 pounds|
|Michigan||under 8 to be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat or booster seat, unless 57 inches tall|
|Minnesota||under 8, shorter than 57 inches tall, and under 80 pounds|
|Mississippi||under age 4|
|Missouri||ages 4-7 and at least 40 pounds -- unless child is 80 pounds or 57 inches tall|
|Montana||under 6 or weighing less than 60 pounds|
|Nebraska||up to age 6|
|Nevada||over 40 pounds and less than 57 inches tall|
|New Hampshire||age 6 or 55 inches tall must be restrained and properly secured in an approved child passenger safety seat|
|New Jersey||under 8 and/or weighing less than 80 pounds|
|New Mexico||ages 7-12 must ride in a booster seat until the adult seat belt fits them properly|
|New York||under 8|
|North Carolina||under 8 and less than 80 pounds|
|North Dakota||under age 7, less than 57 inches tall, and weighing less than 80 pounds|
|Ohio||8 years old or is at least 57 inches tall|
|Oregon||over 40 pounds must use a booster seat until they are age 8 or 57 inches tall|
|Rhode Island||under age 7, less than 54 inches tall, and weighing less than 80 pounds|
|South Carolina||under 5, weighing 40-80 pounds|
|South Dakota||under 5 and weighing less than 40 pounds|
|Tennessee||ages 4-8 and less than 57 inches|
|Texas||under 8, unless the child is taller than 57 inches|
|Utah||under 8 or 57 inches tall|
|Washington||until 8, unless the child is 57 inches tall|
|West Virginia||under 8 or least 57 inches tall|
|Wisconsin||ages 4-8, between 40-80 pounds, and under 57 inches tall|
|Washington DC||under 8|
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