Missouri Car Seat Laws
Missouri car seat laws are enforced in order for children to be protected in the event of a vehicle crash. When booster seat laws are combined with proper car seat installation techniques, a child will be as safe as possible when a circumstance arises. However, each car seat is different and holds varying weight, height and age requirements which should be followed accordingly.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages one through 13, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). To avoid being part of the statistic, drivers and parents should adhere to the car seat regulations within Missouri. In order to find out recommendations for booster seat age and weight, as well as seat laws specific to MO, continue reading below.
What are the car seat laws in Missouri?
Every state has specific car seat requirements that must be followed by residents and visitors alike. The Missouri car seat safety laws require that all children under the age of four must be secured in an approved car seat and all children under 16 years of age must be properly restrained in a vehicle.
It is also recommended that children ride in booster seats until age eight, 80 pounds or reaches 4 feet 9 inches tall, whichever happens first. There are other important tips as per Missouri recommendations involving a child’s age, which include:
- Infants – younger than one year old, or less than 20 pounds:
- Stay in a rear facing safety seat.
- Always put in the back seat.
- Adjust the harness straps just below the baby’s shoulders.
- Make sure the seat is reclined enough so that the baby’s head does not fall forward.
- Children older than one year old and 20 pounds:
- May ride in a forward-facing seat.
- Never place in front of an airbag.
- Make sure the seat is securely fasted with a seatbelt.
- Children over 40 pounds should be moved to a booster seat.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in Missouri
Missouri car seat regulations must be followed accordingly, as any driver caught without proper seating for children will be subject to a citation. The fine for violating child car seat or booster seat requirements in Missouri is $50 plus the cost of court fees. Violating safety belt regulations is a $10 fine.
A driver may have the option to dismiss the charges and fees prior to a court appearance if he or she can furnish proof of acquiring the necessary child passenger restraint system.
Types of Car Seats
A driver can purchase four options for a child car seat in Missouri, each of which will depend on the child’s age, height and weight. For instance, an infant car seat will have a different set of guidelines when compared to a child seat, as each has varying ways in which to protect a child. The four types of car seats on the market today include:
- Rear-facing car seat – the option intended for a child from birth to three years of age. Rear-facing seats have a harness to protect a child’s neck and spinal cord specifically.
- Forward facing car seat – the best option for children ages one to seven years old. Forward-facing seats have a tether and harness combination to prevent forward movement in a crash.
- Booster seat – intended for children ages four to 12 years old and uses a seat belt in addition to the seat.
- Seat belt – any child between 8 and 12 years of age or over 4 feet 9 inches tall is required to wear a seat belt.
When choosing the best car seats on the market, there will be many different options all varying in style. However, it is always best practice to narrow the search down to the safest car seats available. A few of the top contenders include:
- Graco 4ever All-in-One
- Britax Advocate ClickTight
- Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1
Car Seat Installation Information
Missouri car seat laws go hand-in-hand with proper installation techniques. When the right car seat is not correctly installed in a vehicle, the safety advantages will be null in the event of an accident. A few of the most important car seat installation tips to keep in mind, are:
- Always buy the right seat according to the child’s age and size.
- A rear-facing seat should have the harness straps in the slots closest or slightly below the baby’s shoulders.
- Always follow the seat manufacturer’s instructions.
- The rear facing car seat should be reclined to an angle no more than 45-degrees.
- A forward facing child seat should have harness straps snug with the chest clip.
- There should be no more than one inch of side movement in a belted forward-facing seat.
- Check the vehicle’s manual for proper belting techniques for a car seat.