Minnesota Car Seat Laws
Minnesota car seat laws are intended to help ensure that children are able to be protected as much as possible during a vehicle crash. Booster seat laws are integral for every child, but regulations vary state by state. While some states may enforce a booster seat age requirement, others may use a height requirement instead.
Before the operator of a motor vehicle takes a child out, he or she should be aware of the guidelines established by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. For instance, the Minnesota car seat safety laws use both age and height as a factor in determining the regulations. To find out more about car seats in Minnesota, continue reading below.
What are the car seat laws in Minnesota?
Car seat requirements in Minnesota are very specific when it comes to age and height restrictions. MN booster seat age and height laws state:
- All children under the age of eight must ride in either a car seat or booster seat, unless the child is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall.
- All booster seats and car seats must be federally approved.
- Safety seats must be installed using manufacturer’s instructions.
- All infants under one year of age and 20 pounds must be in a rear facing car seat.
- Minnesota law applies to both residents of the state and visitors.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in Minnesota
Minnesota car seat safety guidelines will need to be enforced by the driver of the motor vehicle, as he or she will be held responsible. If a police officer suspects that booster seat guidelines are not being met, then he or she can pull motorist over for suspected non-use.
The penalties for not meeting child safety guidelines include monetary fines, at minimum of $50 for a petty misdemeanor. However, these fines may be waived if the driver can show proof of purchasing a child safety seat within 14 days.
Types of Car Seats
Choosing the right child car seat in Minnesota will be influenced by a few different factors. For example, a child’s weight, height and age should all be considered when choosing the right seat. There will be different types of car seats available depending on the age of the child, ranging from an infant car seat to a child booster seat and beyond. Some of the various seat options on the market include:
- Rear facing car seats – intended for young children. Has a harness to protect a child’s neck and spinal cord during a crash.
- Forward facing car seats – Intended for children ages one to three years old. Has a harness and tether to limit a child’s forward movement in a crash.
- Booster seats – Intended for children ages four to seven years old, or at most 4 feet 9 inches in height. Positions the seatbelt to fit over the strongest parts of a child’s body.
- Safety belts – any child eight years of age or older, or over 4 feet 9 inches tall must wear a seat belt as a passenger.
- Convertible car seats – acts almost like a two-in-one. Can be converted from one car seat age range to another depending on the type of seat purchased.
Most drivers want to choose the best car seats on the market without sacrificing safety. However, often times the best seats are actually the safest car seats, too. Some of the most popular car seats on the market today include:
- Chicco KeyFit 30
- Graco SnugRide Click Connect 30 LX
- Nuna PIPA Lite LX
- Evenflo Triumph LX
Car Seat Installation Information
Minnesota car seat rules also include properly installing a cat seat within a vehicle. The safety that a child’s car seat provides will be null if the seat is not properly installed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a few handy tips when it comes to proper car seat installation techniques:
- Choose a seat that is based on your child’s size and age.
- Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions first as every seat will have a different set of instructions to follow.
- Use a car seat every time you drive with your child—no exceptions.
- Refer to the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions, too, not just the seat manufacturer’s.
- Check weight and height limits for each car seat.
- A child should always be in a car seat until the age or height limits are met.
After a driver installs a car seat in a vehicle, he or she has the option to have the seat reviewed by a NHTSA technician. Car seat inspection stations are located throughout Minnesota in order for a certified technician to inspect the seat free of charge.