Seat belt and child seat laws by state

Seat belt law Child seat law
State Initial effective date Primary enforcement? Who is covered? In what seats? Maximum base fine 1st offense, additional fees may apply Must be in child safety seat Adult belt permissible Maximum base fine 1st offense, additional fees may apply Preference for rear seat
AL 07/18/91 yes; effective 12/09/99 (secondary for rear seat occupants; effective 9/1/19) 15+ years in all seats $25 younger than 1 or less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing child restraint; 1 through 4 years or 20 - 40 pounds in a forward-facing child restraint; 5 but not yet 6 in a booster seat 6 through 14 years $25Footnote 1 law states no preference for rear seat
AK 09/12/90 yes; effective 05/01/06 16+ years in all seats $15 younger than 1 or less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing child restraint; 1 through 3 years and more than 20 pounds in a child restraint, 4 through 15 years who are either shorter than 57 inches or who weigh more than 20 but less than 65 pounds in a booster 4 through 7 years who are at least 57 inches or 65+ pounds; 7 through 15 who are shorter than 57 inches or weigh less than 65 pounds $50Footnote 1 law states no preference for rear seat
AZ 01/01/91 no 8+ years in front seat; 8 through 15 in all seats $10 4 years and younger; children 5 through 7 who are 57 inches or shorter 5 through 7 who are taller than 57 inches $50 law states no preference for rear seat
AR 07/15/91 yes, effective 06/30/09 15+ years in front seat $25 5 years and younger and less than 60 pounds 6 through 14 years or 60+ pounds $100 law states no preference for rear seat
CA 01/01/86 yes; effective 01/01/93 16+ years in all seats $20 younger than 2 years and less than 40 pounds and less than 40 inches in a rear-facing infant seat; 7 years and younger who are less than 57 inches must be in an appropriate child passenger restraint systemFootnote 2 8 through 15 years or at least 57 inches $100Footnote 1 children 7 years and younger who are less than 57 inches must be in the rear seatFootnote 2
CO 07/01/87 no 16+ years in front seat $71 younger than 1 year and less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing child restraint; 1 through 3 years and 20-40 pounds in a child restraint; 4 through 7 years in a booster seat 8 through 15 years $81 1 year and younger and less than 20 pounds must be in the rear seat if available
CT 01/01/86 yes; effective 01/01/86 8+ years in front seat $50 younger than 2 years or less than 30 pounds in a rear-facing child restraint; 2-4 years or between 30-40 pounds in a forward or rear-facing child restraint; 5-7 years or between 40-60 pounds in a forward or rear-facing child restraint or a booster seat secured with a lap and shoulder belt 8 through 15 years and 60+ pounds $50Footnote 3 law states no preference for rear seat
DE 01/01/92 yes; effective 06/30/03 16+ years in all seats $25 7 years and younger and less than 66 poundsFootnote 4 8 through 15 years or 66+ poundsFootnote 4 $25 children 11 years and younger and 65 inches or less must be in rear seat if passenger airbag is activeFootnote 4
DC 12/12/85 yes; effective 10/01/97 16+ years in all seats $50Footnote 5 younger than 2 years must be in a rear-facing child restraint unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches tall; 3 years and younger in a child restraint; 4 years through 7 years must be in a child restraint or booster seat 8 through 15 years $75Footnote 1 law states no preference for rear seat
FL 07/01/86 yes; effective 6/30/09 6+ years in front seat; 6 through 17 years in all seats $30 5 years and younger not permissibleFootnote 6 $60Footnote 1 law states no preference for rear seat
GA 09/01/88 yes; effective 07/01/96 8 through 17 years in all seats; 18+ years in front seat $15Footnote 7 7 years and younger and 57 inches or lessFootnote 8 more than 57 inches $50Footnote 1 7 years and younger must be in rear seat if available
HI 12/16/85 yes; effective 12/16/85 8+ years in all seats $45 3 years and younger in a child restraint; 4 years through 7 years must be in a child restraint or booster seat 4 through 7 years who are taller than 4'9"; 4 through 7 years who are at least 40 pounds seated in a rear seat where if there are no available lap/shoulder belts, may be restrained by a lap belt $100Footnote 9 law states no preference for rear seat
ID 07/01/86 no 7+ years in all seats $10 6 years and younger not permissible $79 law states no preference for rear seat
IL 01/01/88 yes; effective 07/03/03 16+ years in all seats $25 younger than 2 years must be in a rear-facing child restraint unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches tall; 7 years and younger 8 through 15 years; children who weigh more than 40 pounds seated in the rear where only a lap belt is available $75 law states no preference for rear seat
IN 07/01/87 yes; effective 07/01/98 16+ years in all seats $25 7 years and youngerFootnote 10 8 through 15 years $25Footnote 1 law states no preference for rear seat
IA 07/01/86 yes; effective 07/01/86 18+ years in front seat $25 younger than 1 year and less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing child restraint; 1 through 5 years in a child restraint or a booster seat 6 through 17 years $25 law states no preference for rear seat
KS 07/01/86 yes; effective 6/10/10 (secondary for rear seat occupants >18) 14+ years in all seats $60/no court costs: 14 -17 years; $30/no court costs: 18+ years all children 3 and younger must be in a child restraint; children 4 through 7 who weigh less than 80 pounds and children 4 through 7 who are less than 57 inches tall must be in a child restraint or booster seat all children 8 through 13 years; children 4 through 7 years who weigh more than 80 pounds, and children 4 through 7 years who are taller than 57 inches $60 law states no preference for rear seat
KY 07/15/94 yes; effective 07/20/06 7 and younger and more than 57 inches in all seats; 8+ in all seats $25 40 inches or less in a child restraint; 7 and younger who are between 40 and 57 inches tall in a booster seat taller than 57 inches $50 child restraint; $30 booster seat law states no preference for rear seat
LA 07/01/86 yes; effective 09/01/95 13+ years in all seats $50 younger than 2 years and until reaching the weight or height limit as set by the manufacturer must be in a rear-facing system; at least 2 through 3 years and until reaching the weight or height limit as set by the manufacturer must be in a forward-facing restraint; at least 4 years through 8 years or until reaching the weight or height limit as set by the manufacturer must be in a boosterFootnote 11 9 through 17 years; children who have outgrown the height or weight limits of the child booster seat as set by the manufacturer $100 12 and younger must be in the rear seat if available
ME 12/26/95 yes; effective 09/20/07 18+ years in all seats $50 younger than 2 years, or until exceeding manufacturer’s recommended weight limit, in a rear-facing restraint system; 2 years and older and less than 55 pounds in a child restraint system in accordance with the manufactures’ instructions; children less than 80 pounds who are shorter than 57 inches and less than 8 years in a booster 17 and younger who are taller than 57 inches or heavier than 80 pounds $50 11 years and younger and less than 100 pounds must be in rear seat if available
MD 07/01/86 yes; effective 10/01/97 (secondary for rear seat occupants; effective 10/01/13) 16+ years in all seats $50 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches 8 through 15 years; children who are at least 57 inches $50 law states no preference for rear seat
MA 02/01/94 no 13+ years in all seats $25Footnote 12 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches 8 through 12 years; children who are at least 57 inches tall $25 law states no preference for rear seat
MI 07/01/85 yes; effective 04/01/00 16+ years in front seat $25 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches 8 through 15 years; children who are at least 57 inches tall $10Footnote 13 3 years and younger must be in the rear seat if available
MN 08/01/86 yes; effective 06/09/09 7 and younger and more than 57 inches in all seats; 8+ in all seats $25 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches not permissible $50 law states no preference for rear seat
MS 07/01/94 yes; effective 05/27/06 7+ years in all seats $25 3 years and younger must be in a child restraint; 4 through 6 years and either less than 57 inches or less than 65 pounds must be in a booster seat 6 years and younger who either weigh 65 pounds or more or who are 57 inches or taller $25 law states no preference for rear seat
MO 09/28/85 no (yes for children <16) 16+ years in front seat $10 all children who are 3 years and younger and all children who weigh less than 40 pounds must be in a child restraint; 4 through 7 years who weigh at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds and who are 4'9" or shorter must be in either a child restraint or booster seat; children 4 years and older who weigh at least 80 pounds or who are at least 4 feet and 9 inches tall must be in either a booster seat or safety belt all children 8 through 16 years; all children 4 years and older who weigh 80 pounds or more or who are taller than 4'9" $50; $10 for violations involving children taller than 4'9" or who weigh 80 pounds or more law states no preference for rear seat
MT 10/01/87 no 6+ years in all seats $20 5 years and younger and less than 60 pounds not permissible $100 law states no preference for rear seat
NE 01/01/93 no 18+ years in front seat $25 younger than 2 years in a rear-facing child restraint or until the child outgrows the maximum allowable height or weight as prescribed by the manufacturer; 7 years and younger in a child safety seat 8 through 17 yearsFootnote 14 $25Footnote 1 children 7 and younger must be in rear seat if available
NV 07/01/87 no 6+ years in all seats $25 5 years and younger and 60 pounds or less not permissible $500Footnote 15 law states no preference for rear seat
NH n/a no law no law no law 6 years and younger who are less than 57 inches 7 through 17 years; younger than 7 who are at least 57 inches tall $50 law states no preference for rear seat
NJ 03/01/85 yes; effective 05/01/00 (secondary for rear seat occupants; effective 1/20/11) 7 years and younger and more than 57 inches; 8+ in all seats $20 younger than 2 years and less than 30 pounds in a rear-facing infant seat; younger than 4 years and less than 40 pounds in a rear-facing child safety seat until a child outgrows the manufacturer’s top height or weight recommendations or in a forward-facing child safety seat; younger than 8 years and less than 57 inches in a forward-facing child safety seat until a child outgrows the manufacturer’s top height or weight recommendations or booster seat not permissible $75 children 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches must be in the rear seat if available, no child shall be secured in a rear facing infant seat in a front seat of any motor vehicle which is equipped with a passenger-side airbag that is not disabled
NM 01/01/86 yes; effective 01/01/86 18+ years in all seats $25Footnote 5 younger than 1 year in a rear-facing child restraint; 1 through 4 years or less than 40 pounds in a child restraint; 5 through 6 or less than 60 pounds in a booster seat 7 through 17 years $25 children younger than one year in a rear-facing child restraint must be in the rear seat if available
NY 12/01/84 yes; effective 12/01/84 16+ years in front seat $50Footnote 16 younger than 2 years or until a child outgrows the manufacturer's top height or weight recommendations in a rear-facing child restraint; younger than 4 years unless they weigh more than 40 pounds and are seated where there is no available lap/shoulder belt; 4 through 7 years unless they are seated where there is no available lap/shoulder belt 8 through 15 years; children who weigh more than 40 pounds or children 4 through 7 years in a seating position where there is no available lap/shoulder belt $100Footnote 1 law states no preference for rear seat
NC 10/01/85 yes; effective 12/01/06 (secondary for rear seat occupants) 16+ years in all seats $25 7 years and younger and less than 80 pounds 8 through 15 years + children 40-80 pounds in seats without shoulder belts $25Footnote 1 children 4 years and younger who weigh less than 40 pounds must be in the rear seat unless the front passenger airbag is deactivated or the restraint is designed for use with airbags
ND 07/14/94 no 18+ years in front seat $20 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches 8 through 17 years; 7 years and younger and at least 57 inches $25Footnote 1 law states no preference for rear seat
OH 05/06/86 no 8 through 14 in all seats; 15+ years in front seat $30 driver/$20 passenger 3 years and younger or less than 40 pounds in child restraint; 4 through 7 years who weigh 40 pounds or more and who are shorter than 57 inches in a child restraint or booster seat 8 through 14 yearsFootnote 17 $75Footnote 17 law states no preference for rear seat
OK 02/01/87 yes; effective 11/01/97 9+ years in front seat $20 younger than 2 years or until a child outgrows the manufacturer's top height or weight recommendations in a rear-facing child restraint; younger than 4 years in a child restraint; 4 through 7 years, if not taller than 4 feet 9 inches, in a child restraint or booster seat 8 years; children who are taller than 4 feet 9 inchesFootnote 18 $50 law states no preference for rear seat
OR 12/07/90 yes; effective 12/07/90 16+ years in all seats $115 younger than 2 years must be in a rear facing child restraint; 7 or younger: 40 pounds or less must be in a child restraint; more than 40 pounds but 4 feet and 9 inches or less must be in a booster seat taller than 4 feet and 9 inches; 8 through 15 $115 law states no preference for rear seat
PA 11/23/87 no (yes for children <18 years) 18+ years in front seat $10 younger than 2 years in a rear facing child restraint until a child outgrows the manufacturer’s top height or weight recommendations; 2 through 3 years in a forward-facing child safety seat; 4 through 7 years in a booster seat 8 through 17 years in all seats $75 law states no preference for rear seat
RI 06/18/91 yes; effective 6/30/11 18+ years in all seats $40 younger than 2 years or less than 30 pounds must be in a rear-facing child restraint; 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches and less than 80 pounds 7 years and younger who either weigh 80 pounds or more or who are at least 57 inches tall; 8 through 17 $85 children 7 and younger must be in rear seat if available
SC 07/01/89 yes; effective 12/09/05Footnote 19 8+ years in all seats $25 younger than 2 years in rear-facing child restraint until exceeding manufacturer height/weight limit; children younger than 2 who outgrow rear-facing system and children 2 and older must be in forward-facing restraint with harness until exceeding manufacturer height/weight limit; children 4 and older who outgrow forward-facing child restraint must be in belt positioning booster using lap/shoulder belts until child is at least 8 years or at least 57 inches 8 years or at least 57 inches tall if (1) lap belt fits across hips and thighs, not abdomen (2) shoulder belt crosses center of chest and not neck (3) knees bend over seat edge when sitting up straight with his/her back firmly against seat back $150 7 years and younger must be in the rear seat if available
SD 01/01/95 no 18+ years in front seat $20 4 years and younger and less than 40 pounds 5 through 17 years; all children 40+ pounds, regardless of age $25 law states no preference for rear seat
TN 04/21/86 yes; effective 07/01/04 16+ years in front seat $30 younger than 1 year or 20 pounds or less in a rear-facing child restraint; 1 through 3 years and 20+ pounds in a forward-facing child restraint; 4 through 8 years and less than 4'9" in a booster seat 9 through 15 years or any child 12 or younger who is 4'9" or taller $50 children 8 years and younger and less than 4'9" must be in rear seat if available; rear seat recommended for children 9 through 12
TX 09/01/85 yes; effective 09/01/85 7 years and younger who are 57 inches or taller; 8+ years in all seats $200 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches not permissible $25 minimum; maximum unlisted law states no preference for rear seat
UT 04/28/86 yes;Footnote 20 effective 05/12/15 16+ years in all seats $45Footnote 20 7 years and younger and shorter than 57 inches 8 through 15 years; all children 57 inches or taller $45Footnote 21 law states no preference for rear seat
VT 01/01/94 no 18+ years in all seats $25 younger than 1 year or less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing child restraint; 1 through 7 and more than 20 pounds in a child restraint or booster seat 8 through 17 years and more than 20 pounds $25 children 1 year and younger or less than 20 pounds must be in the rear seat unless the front passenger airbag is deactivated
VA 01/01/88 no 18+ years in front seat $25 younger than 2 years in a rear-facing child restraint or until the child reaches the minimum weight limit for a forward facing child safety seat as prescribed by the manufacturer; 7 years and younger in a child safety seat 8 through 17 yearsFootnote 22 $50 children in rear-facing devices must be in a rear seat if available; if not available, they may be placed in front only if front passenger airbag is deactivated
WA 06/11/86 yes; effective 07/01/02 16+ years in all seats $124 younger than 2 years must be in a rear-facing system until the child reaches the weight or height limit as set by the manufacturer; younger than 4 who are not required to be rear-facing must be properly secured in a child restraint system that is forward-facing and has a harness until the child reaches the set weight or height limits; older than 4 and shorter than four feet nine inches must be in a booster seat (effective 01/01/20) all children who are taller than 4’9” and younger than 16; 4 and older if in a seating position where there is only a lap belt available (effective 01/01/20) $124 12 years and younger must be in rear seat if practical
WV 09/01/93 yes; effective 07/1/2013 8+ years in front seat; 8 through 17 years in all seats $25 7 years and younger and less than 4'9" 7 years and younger and 4'9" or taller $20 law states no preference for rear seat
WI 12/01/87 yes; effective 06/30/09 8+ years in all seats $10 children younger than 1 and all children who weigh less than 20 pounds are required to be in a rear-facing child restraint; children 1 through 3 years who weigh at least 20 pounds but less than 40 pounds are required to be in a rear-facing or a forward-facing child restraint; children 4 through 7 who both weigh at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds and who are less than 57 inches tall are required to be in a forward-facing child restraint or booster seat 8 years and younger and more than 80 pounds and 57 inches or taller $75 children 3 and younger must be in a rear seat, if available
WY 06/08/89 no 9+ years in all seats $25Footnote 23driver/$10 passenger 8 years and younger not permissible $50 children 8 years and younger must be in the rear seat if available