Idaho’s Child Car Seat and Seatbelt Laws

Idaho’s car seat laws and the penalties for a violation.

Idaho law requires all vehicle passengers to wear seatbelts but additionally requires special restraints for children so as to reduce vehicle-related injuries. The proper restraint might be a forward-facing or rear-facing car seat or booster seat, depending on the child's height, weight, and age. Failure to use the right kind of car seat or seatbelt can result in fines and fees.

Car Seats and Boosters for Children Under Seven Years Old

All Idaho children who are six years old or younger must be properly secured in a child safety restraint. While Idaho law does not specify the specific seat to be used, the Idaho Department of Transportation has published the following recommendations.

Under Two Years

Two to Three Years

Four to Six Years

Under 40 pounds

Rear-facing car seat

Rear- or forward-facing car seat

Forward-facing car seat

Over 40 pounds

Forward-facing car seat

Booster seat with shoulder and lap belt

Failure to properly secure a child who's under seven years old will result in an $84 fine. Some judges might be willing to waive the fine and conviction if the cited driver obtains a proper child restraint system.

Rear-Facing Car Seats

Rear-facing cars seats are generally appropriate for infants who are younger than two years old and children who are up to four years old but weigh less than 40 pounds.

Forward-Facing Car Seats

Forward-facing cars seats are typically appropriate for children who are at least two years old and weigh at least 40 pounds. Normally, the child should continue to use the forward-facing seat until they outgrow the manufacturer's recommendations.

Booster Seats for Children Over Seven Years Old

Children who are at least seven years old aren't required to use a child restraint system. But the state encourages children to remain in a booster seat until they are at least 40 pounds and four feet, nine inches tall.

At the very least, all passengers must wear a safety belt. A violation will result in the driver receiving a fine of up to $66.50.

Exceptions to Car Seat Requirements

Certain vehicles. Mail carriers, emergency vehicles, and motorcycles are exempt from seatbelt and child restraint requirements.

Medical reasons. Passengers can also get an exemption from a licensed physician based on medical necessity.

No available seatbelts. If all seatbelts are in use, a child is exempt from the restraint requirement if seated in the rear seat.

Nursing mothers. A child is also exempt if removed from the restraint for nursing or other physiological needs.

More Information and Resources

For more information about child restraint systems, check the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control. It's also a good idea to register your car seat to be notified regarding recalls.

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