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Did You Know Different States Have Different Car Seat/Booster Laws?

Many consumers think that the law is the same throughout the United States, but child car seat laws are different depending on what state you live in.  Below we have listed the different laws per state, as stated by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association.

Parents - no matter what state you live in, be safe!  SmartMomma recommends Britax car seats, known for their safety and design.  Manufactured always in the USA.  NOW THROUGH JUNE 28, 2009 SMARTMOMMA IS GIVING AWAY A FREE TRAVEL PACKAGE WITH ALL REGULAR PRICED BRITAX CAR SEATS ($50 VALUE).  Please click on the link below for more information.

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Summary of Child Booster Seat Laws

(47 states total, including the District of Columbia)To date, 47 states (including Washington, D.C.) have some form of a booster seat law.  In many states, Safe Kids coalitions were actively involved in advocacy efforts to upgrade their child restraint law.  Please note that the laws generally require some older children to ride properly restrained in a booster seat, secured by the motor vehicle’s safety belt system.  Age coverage and other requirements vary by state.

The following is a brief summary of current booster seat laws (please note the range of effective dates):

1) California
-California’s law requires children ages 5 & under and weighing less than 60 pounds to use an appropriate child safety seat.
The law went into effect on January 1, 2002.

2) Washington (Note: Washington enacted a booster seat law in 2002 and revised this law in 2005 and 2007.)
-Washington’s newly upgraded law requires children ages 7 & under to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 8 or older, or 4′9″ in height or taller can be restrained by a safety belt or an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 12 & under should sit in the back seat when practical.
-The law went into effect on June 1, 2007.

3) Arkansas
Signed into law on February 28, 2001, Arkansas’ law requires children ages 5 & under and weighing less than 60 pounds to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 6 - 14 or weighing at least 60 pounds must use a safety belt.
-The law went into effect on July 1, 2001.

4) South Carolina
-Signed into law on July 3, 2001, South Carolina’s law requires children ages 5 & under and weighing between 40 - 80 pounds to use a booster seat in the back seat.
-Children ages 5 & under and weighing more than 80 pounds who can sit with their backs straight against the vehicle seat back cushions, with their knees bent over the vehicle’s seat edge without slouching, may use a safety belt in the back seat.
-Children ages 0 - 1 or weighing less than 20 pounds must use a rear-facing child safety seat in the back seat.
-Children ages 1 - 5 and weighing between 20 - 39 pounds must use a forward-facing child safety seat in the back seat.
-The law went into effect on July 1, 2001.

5) Oregon (Note: Oregon enacted a booster seat law in 2001 and revised this law in 2007.)
-Oregon’s newly upgraded law requires children through age 7, weighing more than 40 pounds and measuring 4′9″ or shorter to use a booster seat.
-Children weighing 40 pounds or less are required to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children under age one, regardless of weight, or children weighing 20 pounds or less, must be properly secured in a rear-facing child safety seat.
-The law went into effect on July 1, 2007.

6) Rhode Island
-Signed into law on July 9, 2001, Rhode Island’s law requires children ages 6 & under, less than 54 inches in height, and weighing less than 80 pounds to use an appropriate child safety seat in the back seat.
-Children ages 6 & under, 54 inches in height or more, and weighing 80 pounds or more are required to use a safety belt in the back seat.
-The law went into effect on July 9, 2001.

7) New Jersey
-Signed into law on September 6, 2001, New Jersey’s law requires children ages 7 & under and weighing less than 80 pounds to use an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat in the back seat.
-Children ages 7 & under and weighing more than 80 pounds are required to use a safety belt.
-Children ages 8 - 17 are required to use safety belts.
-The law went into effect on December 1, 2001.

8) Maine
-Signed into law on April 1, 2002, Maine’s law requires children weighing less than 40 pounds to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 7 & under and weighing at least 40 pounds but under 80 pounds are required to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 8 - 17 or ages 17 & under and more than 4′7″ in height are required to use a safety belt.
-Children ages 11 & under and weighing less than 100 pounds are required to ride properly secured in the rear seat, if possible.
-The law went into effect on January 1, 2003.

9) Virginia(Note: Virginia enacted a booster seat law in 2002 and revised this law in 2007.)
-Signed into law on February 23, 2007, Virginia’s law requires children ages 7 & under to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 8 - 15 are required to use a safety belt.
-The law will go into effect on July 1, 2007.

10) Nebraska
-Signed into law on April 17, 2002, Nebraska’s law requires children ages 5 & under to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 6 - 15 are required to use a safety belt.
-The law went into effect on July 1, 2002.

11) Maryland (Note: Maryland enacted a booster seat in 2002 and revised this law in 2008.)
-Signed into law on May 13, 2008, Maryland’s new law will required children to be in a child safety seat up to their 8th birthday, unless they weigh more than 65 pounds or are 4′9″ or taller.
-Children ages 8 - 15 will be required to use a child safety seat or safety belt.
-The law will go into effect on June 30, 2008.

12) Delaware
-Signed into law on May 9, 2002, Delaware’s law requires children ages 7 & under and weighing less than 66 pounds to ride in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat.
-Children ages 8 - 15 and weighing more than 65 pounds are required to use a safety belt.
-The law went into effect on January 1, 2003.

13) Colorado
-Signed into law on June 4, 2002, Colorado’s law requires children ages 4 - 5 and less than 55 inches in height to use a booster seat.
-Children less than one year of age and weighing less than 20 pounds are required to ride in an appropriate rear-facing child safety seat.
-Children ages 1 - 3 and weighing more than 20 pounds (but less than 40 pounds) are required to ride in an appropriate forward-facing child safety seat.
-Children ages 6 - 15 are required to use a safety belt.
-The law went into effect on August 1, 2003, with a year of public education before enforcement begins. When enforcement begins on August 1, 2004, police officers will give warnings, not tickets, to drivers for one year.

14) District of Columbia
-Approved by the Mayor on August 26, 2002, D.C.’s law requires children ages 7 & under to ride in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat.
-Children ages 8 - 15 are required to use a safety belt or a child safety seat.
-The law went into effect on October 16, 2002.

15) Pennsylvania
-Signed into law on December 23, 2002, Pennsylvania’s law requires children ages 4 - 7 to use a booster seat.
-Children ages 8 - 17 are required to use a safety belt.
-The law went into effect on February 21, 2003.

16) Wyoming
-Signed into law on March 7, 2003, Wyoming’s law requires children ages 8 and under to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-The law went into effect on July 1, 2003.

17) Montana
-Signed into law on April 17, 2003, Montana’s law requires children ages 5 & under and weighing less than 60 pounds to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-The law will go into effect on October 1, 2003.

18) Vermont
-Signed into law on May 20, 2003, Vermont’s law requires children ages 1 - 7 and weighing more than 20 pounds to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children under the age of one (regardless of weight) and children weighing less than 20 pounds (regardless of age) are required to use a rear-facing child safety seat.
-Children ages 8 - 15 are required to use a child safety seat or a safety belt.

-The law went into effect on January 1, 2004.

19) New Hampshire
-Signed into law on May 20, 2003, New Hampshire’s law requires children ages 5 & under and less than 55 inches in height to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-The law went into effect on January 1, 2004.

20) Nevada
-Signed into law on June 9, 2003, Nevada’s new law requires children ages 5 & under and weighing 60 pounds or less to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 6 - 17 or children ages 5 & under and weighing more than 60 pounds are required to use a safety belt.
-The law went into effect on June 1, 2004.

21) Tennessee
-Signed into law on June 11, 2003, Tennessee’s new law requires children ages 4 - 8 and measuring less than 4′9″ in height* to use a booster seat (in the rear seat, if available).
-Children under age 1 or children weighing 20 pounds or less are required to use a rear-facing child safety seat (in the rear seat, if available).
-Children ages 1 - 3 and weighing more than 20 pounds are required to use a forward-facing child safety seat (in the rear seat, if available).
-Children ages 9 - 12 (or any child through age 12) measuring 4′9″ or more in height* are required to use a safety belts (in the rear seat, if available).
-Children ages 13 - 15 are required to use a safety belt (in the rear seat, if available).
-The law went into effect on July 1, 2004.
-Height language signed into law on April 14, 2005.  The effective date of the height requirement was July 1, 2005.

22) Illinois
-Signed into law on July 3, 2003, Illinois’ law requires children ages 7 & under to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 8 - 15 are required to use a safety belt.
-Children weighing more than 40 pounds may use a lap belt in the back seat, if the vehicle does not have a combination lap and shoulder belt.
-The law went into effect on January 1, 2004.

23) Louisiana
-Signed into law on July 7, 2003, Louisiana’s law requires children ages 5 & under or weighing 60 pounds or less to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 4 - 5 or weighing 40 - 60 pounds are required to use a booster seat.
-Children ages 1 - 3 or weighing 20 - 39 pounds are required to use a forward-facing child safety seat.
-Children younger than age one or weighing less than 20 pounds are required to use a rear-facing child safety seat.
-The law went into effect on January 1, 2004.

24) Indiana
-Signed into law on March 17, 2004, Indiana’s law requires children ages 7 & under to ride in an appropriate child safety seat (provided that the driver holds an Indiana driver’s license).
-Children ages 8 - 15 are required to use a child safety seat or safety belt.
-Drivers who do not possess an Indiana license are required to restrain children ages 15 & under in a safety belt or child safety seat.
-The law went into effect on July 1, 2005.

25) Oklahoma
-Signed into law on March 31, 2004, Oklahoma’s new law requires children ages 5 & under to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 6 - 12 are required to use a child safety seat or safety belt.
-Children weighing more than 40 pounds may use a lap safety belt if rear seating positions do not have a lap and shoulder belt system.
-The law went into effect immediately upon the governor’s signature.

26) Iowa
-Signed into law on April 28, 2004, Iowa’s law requires children ages 5 & under to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 6 - 10 are required to use a child safety seat or safety belt.
-Children ages 11 and older are required to use a safety belt when sitting in the front seat.
-The law went into effect on July 1, 2004.

27) Georgia

-Signed into law on May 14, 2004, Georgia’s law requires children ages 5 & under to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children weighing at least 40 pounds can be secured in a lap safety belt only, provided that the vehicle is not equipped with both lap and shoulder belts.
-Children over 4 feet and 9 inches can be restrained in a safety belt.
-The law went into effect on July 1, 2004.

28) North Carolina
-Signed into law on August 17, 2004, North Carolina’s law requires children ages 7 & under and less than 80 pounds to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 7 & under and weighing between 40 - 80 pounds can be secured in a lap safety belt only, provided that the vehicle is not equipped with both lap and shoulder belts.
-The law went into effect on January 1, 2005.

29) New York
-Signed into law on September 28, 2004, New York’s law requires children ages 6 & under to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-The law went into effect in March, 2005.

30) Idaho
-Signed into law on March 30, 2005, Idaho’s law requires children ages 6 & under to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-The law went into effect on July 1, 2005.

31) New Mexico
-Signed into law on April 7, 2005, New Mexico’s law requires children ages 5 - 6 (regardless of weight) or children weighing less than 60 pounds (regardless of age) to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 7 - 17 are required to use a child safety seat or safety belt.
-The law went into effect on June 17, 2005.

32) North Dakota
-Signed into law on April 11, 2005, North Dakota’s law requires children ages 6 & under to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 6 & under who are at least 57 inches in height and who weigh at least 80 pounds are not required to use a child safety seat.
-Children weighing more than 40 pounds can be restrained by a lap safety belt if the vehicle is not equipped with lap and shoulder belts, or if all lap and shoulder belts are in use by other passengers.
-Children ages 7 - 17 are required to use a child safety seat or safety belt.
-The law went into effect on August 1, 2005.

33) West Virginia
-Signed into law on April 21, 2005, West Virginia’s law requires children ages 7 & under to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 7 & under and at least 4′9″ tall can be restrained by a safety belt.
-The law went into effect on July 20, 2005.

34) Connecticut
-Signed into law on June 2, 2005, Connecticut’s law requires children ages 6 & under or weighing less than 60 pounds to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children under age one or weighing less than 20 pounds are required to use a rear-facing child safety seat.
-Children ages 7 & older and weighing 60 or more pounds are required to use a child safety seat or a safety belt.
-The law went into effect on October 1, 2005.

35) Wisconsin
-Signed into law on February 6, 2006, Wisconsin’s law requires children ages 4 - 7, weighing between 40 - 80 pounds and no more than 57 inches in height to ride in a booster seat.
-Children ages 1 - 3 and weighing between 20 - 39 pounds are required to use a forward-facing child safety seat in the back seat if possible.
-Children less than one year of age or weighing less than 20 pounds are required to use a rear-facing child safety seat in the back seat if possible.
-The law went into effect on June 1, 2006.

36) Kansas
-Signed into law on March 27, 2006, Kansas’ law requires children ages 4 - 7, weighing less than 80 pounds or less than 4′9″ in height, to use an appropriate child restraint.
-Children under the age of 4 are required to be restrained in the most appropriate child safety seat for his or her age.
-Children ages 8 - 13 years of age or weighing more than 80 pounds or is more than 4′9″, are required to use a safety belt.
-The law went into effect on July 1, 2006.

37) Alabama
-Signed into law on April 26, 2006, Alabama’s law requires children through age 5 to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children are required to use a booster seat until he/she is six years of age.
-Children are required to use a forward-facing child safety seat until he/she is at least five years of age or weighs 40 pounds.
-Children are required to use a rear-facing child safety seat until he/she is at least one year of age or weighs 20 pounds.
-Children ages 6 - 14 are required to use a safety belt.
-The law went into effect on July 1, 2006.

38) Hawaii
-Signed into law on June 6, 2006, Hawaii’s law requires children ages 7 & under to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 4 - 7 can use a safety belt if they are over 4′9″ in height.
-Children ages 4 - 7 and weighing at least 40 pounds can use a lap-only safety belt in the back seat if there are no lap/shoulder belts available.
-Children ages 8 - 14 are required to use a safety belt.
-The law went into effect on January 1, 2007.

39) Missouri
-Signed into law on June 29, 2006, Missouri’s law requires childrenages 4 - 7 weighing at least 40 pounds but under 80 pounds, and less than 4′9″ to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children less than four years of age (regardless of weight) and children weighing less than 40 pounds (regardless of age) are required to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children weighing at least 80 pounds or children more than 4′9″ in height are required to use a safety belt or booster seat.
-The law went into effect on August 28, 2006.

40) Utah
-Signed into law on March 17, 2008, Utah’s law requires children through age 7 to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 7 and under who are 57 inches or taller are allowed to use a safety belt.
-Children ages 8 and up are required to use a safety belt.
-The law went into effect on May 4, 2008.

41) Michigan
-Signed into law on March 27, 2008, Michigan’s law will require that children ages 4 - 7 and less than 4′9″ tall be properly secured in a child safety seat.
-The new law went into effect on July 1, 2008.

42) Massachusetts
-Signed into law on April 11, 2008, Massachusetts’ law will require children through age 7 to ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children taller than 57 inches in height and children ages 8 - 12 will be required to ride in a safety belt.
-The new law went into effect on May 1, 2008.

43) Kentucky
-Signed into law on April 14, 2008, Kentucky’s lawwill require children through age 6 who are between 40 - 50 inches tall to use a booster seat.
-Violators of the law will receive courtesy warnings until July 1, 2009.  Violations on or after this date will result in a $30 fine.  First time violators will be allowed to present proof of a booster seat purchase to escape the fine.

44) Mississippi
-Signed into law on May 8, 2008, Mississippi’s law will require children ages 4 - 6 and less than 4′9″ in height or less than 65 pounds in weight to use a booster seat.
-Children ages 3 & under will be required to use a child safety seat.
-Children ages 6 & under who are not required to use a child safety seat or booster seat must use a safety belt.
-The new law went into effect on July 1, 2008.

45) Ohio
-Signed into law on January 6, 2009, Ohio’s new law will require children ages 7 & under and less than 4′9″ to use a booster seat.
-Children ages 0 - 3 or less than 40 pounds will be required to use a child safety seat.
-Children ages 8 - 15 will be required to use a child safety seat or safety belt.
-The new law will go into effect on April 6, 2009.  Violations of the law for the first six months will be subject to warnings only.  Full enforcement, including citations, will begin on or about November 6, 2009.  Fines will range from $25 to $75 per occurrence.

46) Minnesota
-Signed into law on May 15, 2009, Minnesota’s new law will require children ages 7 & under and less than 4′9″ to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children ages 8 - 10 will be required to use a safety belt.
-Violation of the child safety seat law will result in a maximum fine of $50.
-The new law will go into effect on July 1, 2009.

47) Texas
-Enacted into law on May 29, 2009, Texas’ new law will require children ages 7 & under to use an appropriate child safety seat.
-Children who are taller than 4′9″ will not be required to use a child safety seat.
-Violation of the child safety seat law will result in a maximum $25 fine for the first offense.  Subsequent violations will result in a maximum $250 fine.
-The new law will go into effect on September 1, 2009.

For more information on the booster seat laws, please click:
http://jpma.org/pdfs/09CPSLegislationMayUpdate.pdf
http://jpma.org/pdfs/BoosterLawMap2009.pdf

Parents - no matter what state you live in, be safe!  SmartMomma recommends Britax car seats, known for their safety and design.  Manufactured always in the USA.  NOW THROUGH JUNE 28, 2009 SMARTMOMMA IS GIVING AWAY A FREE TRAVEL PACKAGE WITH ALL REGULAR PRICED BRITAX CAR SEATS ($50 VALUE).  Please click on the link below for more information.

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