Indiana’s Child Safety Seat and Seatbelt Laws

Indiana’s car seat laws and the penalties of a violation.

In an effort to reduce unnecessary injuries, Indiana requires all children to be properly secured with a seatbelt or child restraint system. This article outlines some of the requirements, recommendations, and possible penalties associated with Indiana passenger restraint system laws.

Under Eight Years Old

Indiana requires all children younger than eight years old to be properly fastened and restrained according to the harness system's manufacturer recommendations. Fortunately, the Indiana State Police have established recommendations for what restraint is appropriate for different ages and weights.

Under One Year

One to Eight Years

Under 20 pounds

Rear-facing car seat

Rear-facing car seat

Over 20 pounds

Rear-facing car seat

Rear- or forward-facing car seat

Over 30 pounds

Forward-facing car seat or booster

If the vehicle is not equipped with shoulder-strap seatbelts, a child weighing at least 40 pounds can ride in the rear seat with only a lap belt. The same exemption exists if all shoulder belts are being used by other children.

Over Eight Years Old

Children eight years and older are not required to use a child restraint system but should remain in a booster seat until the shoulder strap fits comfortably. Children must still wear safety belts until 16 years old.

Child Restraint Violations

A child restraint or seatbelt violation is a class D infraction. A conviction will result in court costs and a maximum fine of $25 but will not lead to license demerit points.

A convicted person can avoid having to pay fines and fees by obtaining and installing a proper child seat within 30 days of conviction. Persons with prior offenses are not eligible for the fine and fee waiver.

Child Restraint Exceptions

Certain vehicles, such as school buses, taxis, and medical vehicles are exempt from the restraint requirements. However, the normal requirements do apply to Lyft and Uber drivers.

A child might also be exempt if a physical or medical condition prevents the use of a restraint system. Such exemptions require written certification from a physician.

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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