Child Seats, Booster Seats, What’s The Law In The U.S.

Hi all,

We get asked a lot about age restrictions and requirements for children when it comes to USA car hire and restraint laws, here is a good table put together by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety detailing all the information you need to know.

State Must be in child restraint Adult safety
belt permissible?
Maximum fine
1st offense
Law states preference
for rear seat
Alabama younger than 1 or less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing infant seat; 1 through 4 years or 20-40 pounds in a forward-facing child safety seat; 5 but not yet 6 in a booster seat. 6 through 14 years $25 law states no preference for rear seat
Alaska younger than 1 or less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing infant seat; 1 through 4 years and more than 20 pounds in a child restraint, 4 through 15 years who are either shorter than 57 inches or who weigh more than 20 but less than 65 pounds in a booster 4 through 7 years who are at least 57 inches or 65+ pounds; 7 through 15 who are shorter than 57 inches or weigh less than 65 pounds $50 law states no preference for rear seat
Arizona 4 years and younger not permissible $50 law states no preference for rear seat
Arkansas 5 years and younger and less than 60 pounds 6 through 14 years or 60+ pounds $100 law states no preference for rear seat
California 7 years and younger who are less than 57 inches (effective 01/01/12) 8 through 15 years or at least 57 inches (effective 01/01/12) $100 children 7 years and younger who are less than 57 inches must be in the rear seat (effective 01/01/12)
Colorado younger than 1 year and less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing infant seat; 1 through 3 years and 20-40 pounds in a child safety seat; 4 through 7 years in a booster seat 8 through 15 years $81 1 year and younger and less than 20 pounds must be in the rear seat if available
Connecticut younger than 1 year or less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing restraint system; 1 through 6 years who is less than 60 pounds in a child restraint system (booster seats may only be used in a seating position with a lap and shoulder belt) 7 through 15 years and 60+ pounds $60 law states no preference for rear seat
Delaware 7 years and younger and less than 66 pounds 8 through 15 years or 66+ pounds $25 children 11 years and younger and 65 inches or less must be in rear seat if passenger airbag is active
District of Columbia 7 years and younger 8 through 15 years $75 law states no preference for rear seat
Florida 3 years and younger 4 through 5 years $60 law states no preference for rear seat
Georgia 7 years and younger and 57 inches or less more than 57 inches $50 7 years and younger must be in rear seat if avaliable
Hawaii 3 years and younger in a child safety seat; 4 years through 7 years must be in a booster seat or child restraint 4 through 7 years who are taller than 4’9″; 4 through 7 years who are at least 40 pounds seated in a rear seat where if there are no available lap/shoulder belts, may be restrained by a lap belt $100 law states no preference for rear seat
Idaho 6 years and younger not permissible $100 law states no preference for rear seat
Illinois 7 years and younger 8 through 15 years; children who weigh more than 40 pounds seated in the rear where only a lap belt is available $75 law states no preference for rear seat
Indiana 7 years and younger 8 through 15 years $25 law states no preference for rear seat
Iowa younger than 1 year and less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing child seat; 1 through 5 years 6 through 17 years $25 law states no preference for rear seat
Kansas all children 3 and younger must be in a child restraint; children 4 through 7 who weigh less than 80 pounds and children 4 through 7 who are less than 57 inches tall must be in a child restraint or booster seat all children 8 through 13 years; children 4 through 7 years who weigh more than 80 pounds, and children 4 through 7 years who are taller than 57 inches $60 law states no preference for rear seat
Kentucky 40 inches or less in a child restraint; 6 and younger who are between 40 and 50 inches tall in a booster seat 6 and younger who are taller than 50 inches $50 child restraint; $30 booster seat law states no preference for rear seat
Louisiana younger than 1 year or less than 20 pounds in a child safety seat; 1 through 3 years or 20-39 pounds in a forward-facing child safety seat; 4 through 5 years or 40-60 pounds in a child booster seat 6 through 12 years or greater than 60 pounds $100 law states no preference for rear seat
Maine less than 40 pounds in a child safety seat; 40-80 pounds and less than 8 years in a safety system that elevates the child so that an adult seat belt fits properly 8 through 17 years or less than 18 years and more than 4’9″ $50 11 years and younger and less than 100 pounds must be in rear seat if available
Maryland 7 years and younger and either less than 57 inches or 65 pounds or less 8 through 15 years; children who are at least 57 inches or 65 pounds $25 law states no preference for rear seat
Massachusetts 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches 8 through 12 years; children who are at least 57 inches tall $25 law states no preference for rear seat
Michigan 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches 8 through 15 years; children who are at least 57 inches tall $10 3 years and younger must be in the rear seat if available
Minnesota 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches not permissible $50 law states no preference for rear seat
Mississippi 3 years and younger must be in a child restraint; 4 through 6 years and either less than 57 inches or less than 65 pounds must be in a booster seat 6 years and younger who either weigh 65 pounds or more or who are 57 inches or taller $25 law states no preference for rear seat
Missouri 3 years and younger must be in a child restraint; all children who weigh less than 40 pounds must be in a CR; 4 through 7 years who weigh at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds and who are 4’9″ or shorter must be in either a CR or booster seat; children 4 years and older who weigh at least 80 pounds or who are at least 4’9″ tall must be in either a booster seat or safety belt all children 8 through 16 years; all children 4 years and older who weigh 80 pounds or more or who are taller than 4’9″ $50; $10 for violations involving children taller than 4’9″ or who weigh 80 pounds or more law states no preference for rear seat
Montana 5 years and and younger and less than 60 pounds not permissible $100 law states no preference for rear seat
Nebraska 5 years and younger 6 through 17 years $25 law states no preference for rear seat
Nevada 5 years and younger and 60 pounds or less not permissible $500 law states no preference for rear seat
New Hampshire 5 years and younger who are less than 55 inches 6 through 17 years; younger than 6 who are at least 55 inches tall $50 law states no preference for rear seat
New Jersey 7 years and younger and less than 80 pounds not permissible $25 children 7 years and younger and less than 80 pounds must be in the rear seat if available
New Mexico younger than 1 year in a rear-facing infant seat; 1 through 4 years or less than 40 pounds in a child safety seat; 5 through 6 or less than 60 pounds in a booster seat 7 through 17 years $25 children younger than 1 year in a rear-facing infant seat must be in the rear seat if available
New York 3 and younger unless they weigh more than 40 pounds and are seated where there is no available lap/shoulder belt; 4 through 7 years unless they are seated where there is no available lap/shoulder belt 8 through 15 years; children who weigh more than 40 pounds or children 4 through 7 years in a seating position where there is no available lap/shoulder belt $100 law states no preference for rear seat
North Carolina 7 years and younger and less than 80 pounds 8 through 15 years + children 40-80 pounds in seats without shoulder belts $25 children 4 years and younger who weigh less than 40 pounds must be in the rear seat unless the front passenger airbag is deactivated or the restraint is designed for use with airbags
North Dakota 6 years and younger and less than 57 inches or less than 80 pounds 7 through 17 years; 6 years and younger and at least 57 inches tall and at least 80 pounds; 6 years and younger and at least 40 pounds, if there are no available lap/shoulder belts, may be restrained by a lap belt $25 law states no preference for rear seat
Ohio 3 years and younger or less than 40 pounds in child restraint; 4 through 7 years who weigh 40 pounds or more and who are shorter than 57 inches in booster seat 8 through 14 years $75 law states no preference for rear seat
Oklahoma 5 years and younger 6 through 12 years $25 law states no preference for rear seat
Oregon younger than 1 year or 20 pounds or less must be in a rear facing child safety seat; 7 or younger: 40 pounds or less must be in a child safety seat; more than 40 pounds but 4 feet and 9 inches or less must be in a safety system that elevates the child so that an adult seat belt fits properly taller than 4 feet and 9 inches; 8 through 15 $90 law states no preference for rear seat
Pennsylvania 7 years and younger not permissible $100 law states no preference for rear seat
Rhode Island 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches and less than 80 pounds 7 years and younger who either weigh 80 pounds or more or who are at least 57 inches tall; 8 through 17 $75 children 7 and younger must be in rear seat if available
South Carolina younger than 1 year or less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing infant seat; 1 through 5 years and 20-39 pounds in a forward-facing child safety seat; 1 through 5 years and 40-80 pounds in a booster seat secured by lap-shoulder belt (lap belt alone is impermissible) 1 through 5 years and 80+ pounds or any child 5 years and younger if the child’s knees bend over the seat edge when sitting up straight with his/her back firmly against the seat back $150 children 5 years and younger must be in rear seat if available
South Dakota 4 years and younger and less than 40 pounds 5 through 17 years; all children 40+ pounds, regardless of age $20 law states no preference for rear seat
Tennessee younger than 1 year or 20 pounds or less in a rear-facing infant seat; 1 through 3 years and 20+ pounds in a forward-facing infant seat; 4 through 8 years and less than 4’9″ in a booster seat 9 through 15 years or any child 12 or younger who is 4’9″ or taller $50 children 8 years and younger and less than 4’9″ must be in rear seat if available; rear seat recommended for children 9 through 12
Texas 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches not permissible $25 law states no preference for rear seat
Utah 7 years and younger and shorter than 57 inches 8 through 15 years; all children 57 inches or taller $45 law states no preference for rear seat
Vermont younger than 1 year or less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing infant seat; 2 through 7 and more than 20 pounds 8 through 17 years and more than 20 pounds $25 children 1 year and younger or less than 20 pounds must be in the rear seat unless the front passenger airbag is deactivated
Virginia 7 years and younger unless they have a physician exemption 8 through 17 years $50 children in rear-facing devices must be in a rear seat if available; if not available, they may be placed in front only if front passenger airbag is deactivated
Washington 7 years and younger and less than 4’9″ 8 through 15; 7 years and younger and 4’9″ or taller; children who weigh more than 40 pounds in a seating position where there is only a lap belt available $124 12 years and younger must be in rear seat if practical
West Virginia 7 years and younger and less than 4’9″ 7 years and younger and 4’9″ or taller $20 law states no preference for rear seat
Wisconsin children younger than 1 and all children who weigh less than 20 pounds are required to be in a rear-facing infant seat; children 1 through 3 years who weigh at least 20 pounds but less than 40 pounds are required to be in a forward-facing child safety seat; children 4 through 7 who both weigh at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds and who are less than 57 inches tall are required to be in a booster seat 8 years and younger and more than 80 pounds and 57 inches or taller $75 children 3 and younger must be in a rear seat, if available
Wyoming 8 years and younger not permissible $50 children 8 years and younger must be in the rear seat if available

Lots of good information here, remember you can rent child seats and booster seats directly from the supplier for approximately $7 to $10 per day plus tax.

regards,

James

 car hire USA


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