Missouri’s Child Car Seat and Seatbelt Laws

Missouri’s child safety seat laws and the penalties of a violation.

Missouri requires all passengers under the age of 16 to wear seatbelts. However, younger children are subject to more safety requirements, including the use of rear-facing and forward-facing car seats and booster seats. The proper safety seat for a child depends on the child's age, weight, and height.

This article includes detailed state recommendations and requirements, as well as the penalties for a child seat or seatbelt violation.

Car Seat and Seatbelt Requirements

In Missouri, the driver is liable for any passenger seatbelt or child restraint violation.

Children Under 4 Years Old—Car Seats

All children under four years old, regardless of weight, must be properly secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system. Also, all children under 40 pounds, regardless of age, must be properly secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system.

Typically, children in this age range will need to be in a forward- or rear-facing car seat.

Children Who Are at Least 4 Years Old—Booster Seats

A child who's at least four but less than eight years old and is at least 40 but less than 80 pounds must use a booster seat. A booster is required until the child is at least 80 pounds or at least four feet, nine inches tall. If no shoulder strap seatbelt is available in the vehicle, a booster seat is not required.

Car Seat Rule Exceptions

Bus drivers and for-hire drivers are exempt from the normal car seat requirements.

Car Seat and Seatbelt Violation Fines

A child restraint or booster seat violation will result in the driver being fined up to $50, plus court costs. The court will dismiss the ticket if the driver shows proof of obtaining and installing an appropriate child safety seat.

A seatbelt violation carries a $10 fine.

Car Seat Recommendations

To promote child safety and to help parents choose an appropriate seat, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides restraint system recommendations.

Birth

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13+

Rear-facing

Forward-facing

Booster

Seat Belt

Rear-Facing Car Seats

Generally, rear-facing car seats are for infants and children up to about two years old.

Forward-Facing Car Seats

Once a child outgrows a rear-facing seat, the next step up is a forward-facing car seat. Children generally use a forward-facing seat until about four years old.

Booster Seats

When a child gets too big for his or her forward-facing seat, the parents should generally start using a booster seat. Typically, children use booster seats from about four to eight years old.

Seatbelts

In Missouri, a child can lawfully use a normal seat belt if he or she reaches 80 pounds or four feet, nine inches tall.

When Can a Child Sit in the Front Seats of a Vehicle?

Missouri's child seat and seatbelt laws don't specifically prohibit children from being in the front seat of a vehicle. However, it's generally safer for children to be in the back seats and car seat and booster seat manufacturers typically recommend using these products in the rear seats of the vehicle.

Registration

While most car seats are federally approved, it's a good idea to register your car seat to be notified regarding recalls.

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