Wyoming Car Seat Laws
Car seat laws in Wyoming are put in place to keep babies and young children safer when riding in vehicles, especially if there is an auto accident. Certain regulations, such as booster seat laws, indicate the age that a child must be before he or she is able to ride with an adult seat belt safely.
Even when children reach the height or weight required to ride without boosters or other child restraints, they can continue riding in safety seats as long as they are the correct size to use such restraints safely.
Learning the correct booster seat age is important for parents, grandparents and caretakers alike. In fact, all licensed drivers need to follow the same car seat safety principles when traveling with children, even kids who are not their own. In the sections below, drivers can learn which rules apply to them and find tips for choosing the correct type of seat based on a child’s weight or age.
What are the car seat laws in Wyoming?
Most child car seat laws in Wyoming relate to the age a child must be before he or she can ride without a booster seat or car seat. While the regulations do not stipulate which type of car seat children must use, parents are still responsible for choosing the correct style of car seat for their children based on the seat manufacturer’s specifications.
Knowing the exact booster seat weight that is required for a particular brand of seat, for example, is only possible by reading that manufacturer’s instructions.
In addition to stating how old a child must be to stop riding in a booster seat, the regulations for car seats in Wyoming also indicate how to use child seats in a safe manner. Overall, the most important child car seat safety principles and laws include the following:
- Children must ride in an age-appropriate safety seat until their ninth birthday.
- Children are required to ride in the back seat except in vehicles that only have front seats.
- A child does not need to ride in a safety seat when all of the other passenger seats are occupied by other children and the driver is following other federal vehicle safety standards.
- All child restraints must comply with federal safety standards for car seats.
- For any style of car seat, the child’s head must either be protected by a seat back or the car seat itself.
- Residents and non-residents must follow the Wyoming car seat regulations when driving in the state, even if the regulations differ from a non-resident’s home state.
- Drivers can be stopped for a car seat violation without committing any other offense.
There are very few instances in which these requirements, such as those for the correct car seat ages, do not apply to drivers in Wyoming. Drivers are exempt if they have a signed statement from a doctor stating that their child should not use a traditional safety seat for medical reasons.
Drivers operating vehicles that were manufactured without seatbelts, such as those made before the year 1967, are also generally exempt. And child restraints are not required if the driver is currently aiding the child or another passenger of the vehicle. Motorists who have questions about if they are exempt can contact one of the local DOT offices in Wyoming.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in Wyoming
If you do not adhere to the booster seat weight requirements or any other regulations, then you can expect to receive a fine as well as a traffic ticket. You will be issued a minimum fine of $60 for your first offense and a minimum fine of $110 for any subsequent violations.
Remember, violating the car seat requirements in WY is a primary offense. In other words, a law enforcement officer does not need to have a different reason for pulling you over to issue a child restraint ticket.
Types of Car Seats
In order to follow the recommended car seat weight for your child, it is important to learn about the different types of seats on the market. There are several different seat designs that are recommended for children of different ages and weights. The best car seats include the following styles:
- A rear facing car seat is required for infants and babies until they reach 20 pounds and turn one year of age. Instead of a standard rear-facing seat, you can purchase a convertible car seat, which changes into a forward-facing seat when your child is old enough.
- A forward facing car seat is designed for children who weigh between 20 and 40 pounds, which usually includes kids between one and four years of age. A combination seat, which transforms from a forward-facing seat to a booster seat, is a great alternative if you want your child to fit in the same seat for a longer period of time.
- A child booster seat is meant for children who weigh at least 40 pounds, which usually includes children who are four years of age or older.
In addition to combination and convertible car seat options, you can also buy an all-in-one design, which changes from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat and then finally into a booster seat when your child reaches the correct size. Keep in mind that the safest car seats will be the ones that provide as much head and neck support as possible.
Most rear and forward-facing seats already include this support, but always make sure to use a booster seat with a high back if your car does not have headrests to support your child.
Car Seat Installation Information
After learning the correct booster car seat age and other important requirements, you must learn how to properly anchor a seat in your vehicle. The exact instructions for installing car seats may vary slightly from one brand to the next, so it is recommended that you check the seat manufacturer’s specifications to learn the correct steps to take. In general, keep these principles in mind when installing a seat:
- In forward- and rear-facing seats, the shoulder straps should rest at or above the shoulders.
- Rear-facing seats should never be anchored in the front seat of a vehicle unless the airbag is turned off.
- Booster seats must be used with a seat belt that has both a lap and shoulder strap. Lap-only belts are not safe to use with boosters.
After installing a car seat, it is a good idea to have it inspected at a safety event or a child restraint inspection station. Locations that provide inspections include hospitals, police stations, fire stations and health departments, among other similar places.