North Dakota Car Seat Laws
Booster and car seat laws in North Dakota pertain to all child passengers who are younger than 18 years of age. However, car or booster seat age requirements may vary depending on the height and weight of the child as well as the recommendation of the product manufacturer.
In most cases, rear-facing seats are ideal for children who are younger than two years of age, while boosters are safest for children who weigh at least 40 lbs.
While the ND car seat safety laws do not require the use of specific types of child restraints, it is important that parents use their own discretion when choosing an appropriately-fitted device for their child. Various types of safety restraints for children include convertible seats, infant seats and front- or rear-facing seats.
Children may use a seat belt once they are old enough or meet the minimum height requirements. To learn more about choosing a child restraint device, review the information below.
What are the car seat laws in North Dakota?
Motorists must abide by the car or booster seat laws in North Dakota, depending on the age and height of their child. For instance:
- Children who are younger than eight years of age must wear an appropriate type of child restraint. Restraints may include a child car seat or booster seat, depending on the child’s height and weight.
- Children who are younger than eight years of age but at least 4’9” in height (57 inches tall) may use a seat belt rather than a car or booster seat.
- Children between eight and 17 years of age must use an appropriately-fitted child restraint or seat belt.
- Children younger than 18 years of age must wear some type of restraint at all times. This includes a seat belt.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in North Dakota
If motorists violate these car seat rules in ND, they must pay a $25 fine. Additionally, they will receive one violation point against their driver’s license.
Types of Car Seats
While North Dakota car seat laws do not require the use of specific types of child restraints, the state Department of Health recommends using rear or forward-facing seats during the child’s younger years, followed by boosters and seat belts once they get older. For instance, several of the best car seats for children include:
- The rear facing car seat. These seats are often available as infant or convertible seats and are ideal for children who are younger than two years of age. However, infant seats are best for babies who weigh less than 35 pounds, while convertible seats are ideal for children weighing between 30 and 40 pounds.
- The forward facing car seat is safest for children who are at least two years of age. These harnessed seats are best for children who weigh between 40 and 100 pounds.
- The booster seat is ideal for children who are at least four years of age, or after they outgrow their forward-facing seats. While boosters are best for children who weigh between 40 and 120 pounds, children may upgrade to an appropriately-fitted seat belt once they reach 4’9” in height.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), some of the safest car seats for infants include the 4moms Infant Seat, Baby Trend Inertia and the Baby Jogger Infant Seat. Other top-rated car seat brands for infants and older children include Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Cosco, Cybex, Doona, Dream on Me, Eddie Bauer, Evenflo, Graco, Harmony, KidsEmbrace, and Maxi-Cosi.
Note: Once you purchase a car or booster seat, register it with the manufacturer to receive safety notices and possible recall information.
Car Seat Installation Information
After selecting a restraint that meets a child’s car seat weight, height and age requirements, it is important to follow the installation instructions provided by the device’s manufacturer. Additional installation information is available in the vehicle’s ownership manual. However, general car seat installations require that:
- Rear-facing car seats be installed with a seat belt or lower anchors. After following the manufacturer’s instructions for locking the seat in place, the base should not be able to move more than one inch. For babies, the seat must also be semi-reclined, as the airway needs to be kept open.
- Forward-facing seats be installed with lower anchors and tether or a seat belt and tether. After using one of these installation methods to lock the seat in place, it is important to tighten the seat even further, so it cannot move more than one inch from front-to-back or side-to-side.
- Child booster seat restraints be used with the car’s lap and shoulder belts. While the installation process varies depending on whether a high-back or backless booster seat needs to be installed, boosters generally need to lie flat against a back seat. Once seated, the shoulder belt must rest across the child’s chest and the lap belt must sit against the child’s upper thighs. Belts should not rest across the child’s stomach.
To check a restraint for child car seat safety in ND, motorists may visit an inspection station under the Department of Health, as technicians are available throughout the state. To find a local child passenger safety technician, residents may contact the Department of Health by telephone.