Utah Car Seat Laws
Utah car seat laws apply to all child passengers who are younger than eight years of age and shorter than 57 inches tall. As part of these car seat regulations, child passengers must use a rear- or front-facing restraint or a high-back or backless booster seat whenever they travel by passenger vehicle.
These laws are in place to keep children safe while riding in a vehicle, specifically in the event of an auto accident. Once children outgrow these safety restraint devices, they may use an adult seat belt without a booster seat.
As part of these car and booster seat laws, child passengers typically outgrow their rear- or front-facing seats once they reach 40 pounds in weight. In most cases, children who are between four and seven years of age can safely use booster seats instead of a rear- or forward-facing device.
However, drivers must refer to the minimum and maximum height and weight requirements for their specific seat model. To learn more about child car seat safety in UT, review the information below.
What are the car seat laws in Utah?
Under the booster and car seat guidelines of Utah, all child passengers must use a properly fitted restraint device when traveling by motor vehicle, including those driven by commercial driver license holders like small school buses and large passenger vans.
In most cases, child passengers must use a restraint device until they meet the state’s minimum height and age requirements. For instance, as part of these child car seat laws, children must:
- Use a child restraint device if they are younger than eight years of age or shorter than 57 inches tall.
- Use an adult seat belt if they are younger than eight years of age but taller than 57 inches in height.
- Use a booster seat if they are younger than eight years of age but weigh more than 100 lbs.
As part of these car and booster seat regulations in UT, children do not need to sit in the back of a motor vehicle under state law. However, for the safety of all children, all passengers who are younger than 12 years of age should sit in a rear seat.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in Utah
If drivers break these car seat requirements in UT, they may receive a traffic citation and will need to pay a $45 penalty fee. All Utah drivers are legally responsible for the safety of their child passengers. However, if more than one child passenger fails to wear a safety restraint device while traveling by motor vehicle, then the motorist will only receive one citation.
Types of Car Seats
While car and booster seat weight requirements in Utah vary by product type and manufacturer, most children need to use a rear-facing seat until they reach at least 30 pounds in weight and turn one or two years of age.
Once children weigh 30 or more pounds, they may use a forward-facing seat. In most cases, children may use a booster seat once they reach 40 pounds. Moreover, the safest car seats for child passengers include:
- Rear-facing infant seats for babies between birth and 12 months of age. A rear facing car seat is available in convertible, all-in-one and infant models.
- Rear- and forward-facing seats for children between one and three years of age. If drivers use a convertible car seat, then they may position the rear-facing seat toward the front of the vehicle once the child passenger is old enough to ride front-facing. Forward-facing seats are available as combination and all-in-one models as well.
- A forward facing car seat or booster for children between four and seven years of age. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat, motorists must secure them in a high-back or backless belt-positioning booster seat.
- Boosters or seat belts for children between eight and 12 years of age. When children can comfortably use an adult safety belt, they no longer need their booster seat.
To increase car seat safety in Utah, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rates child restraint devices on their ability to meet four basic categories. These categories include evaluation of instructions, installation features, evaluation of labels and child security.
According to the NHTSA, the best car seats for infants include the Baby Trend Inertia, Britax B-Safe 35 Elite and the Cybex Aton Q. The best convertible seats include the Britax Advocate ClickTight, Britax Marathon ClickTight, Chicco NextFit IX Zip and the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70. As for boosters, top-rated models include the Baby Trend PROtect Yumi 2-in-1, Cybex Solution X-Fix and the Harmony Dreamtime 2.
Car Seat Installation Information
While car seat installations vary widely by product type and manufacturer, the following tips can help to simplify the process of installing a child restraint device:
- Refer to your car seat instruction manual and vehicle ownership handbook for specific installation information
- To determine the car seat weight and height range for your specific child restraint device, refer to the product sticker on your car or booster seat
- When installing a booster seat, secure the shoulder strap across the child’s chest and the lap belt across his or her upper thighs
- When installing a baby car seat, position the device at a slight recline
- Keep babies in a rear-facing seat until they turn one or two years of age or reach 30 pounds
To obtain UT car seat installation assistance, motorists may visit a local inspection station. To make an appointment with a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, drivers may contact one of the Utah DMV offices for additional information.