Montana’s Child Car Seat and Seatbelt Laws

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

Whether traveling to Yellowstone or just commuting, all Montana passengers are required to wear seatbelts. Montana also has special rules for children, requiring safety seats appropriate for the child's age, weight, and height. Here are Montana's car seat and seatbelt requirements and the penalties for a violation.

Montana's Car Seat and Seatbelt Requirements for Children

Montana requires all children who are both under six years old and under 60 pounds to be properly restrained in a child safety restraint system. This rule requires the child to be secured per the child seat manufacturer's instructions.

Montana's Car Seats, Booster Seat, & Seatbelt Recommendations

The Highway Traffic Safety Division is tasked with educating the public on car seat safety. There are many choices for car seats. So the division has created guidelines to help parents choose. These guidelines are not requirements, and all car seats should be used according to manufacturer instructions.

Birth

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Rear-facing

Forward-facing

Booster

Seat Belt (Rear Seat)

Rear-Facing Car Seats

Generally, infants and very small children should be in a rear-facing car seat. For most children, a rear-facing car seat is appropriate until they reach about 20 pounds.

But parents should always follow the manufacturer's instructions and recommendations when using a car seat.

Forward-Facing Car Seats

Once a child outgrows a rear-facing seat, the next step up is a forward-facing car seat. Generally, a forward-facing seat is appropriate for kids until about age four or five. But, again, parents need to always follow the manufacturer's guidelines.

Booster Seats

Booster seats are for children who have outgrown a forward-facing car seat. Children generally should use a booster seat at least until a normal seatbelt (without using a booster) fits properly.

Penalties for Child Car Seat and Seatbelt Violations in Montana

Car seat violations. Failure to properly restrain a child under six years old and 60 pounds will result in a maximum $100 fine. However, a first-offense violation can be dismissed if the offender shows proof of acquiring a proper car seat within seven days of the violation.

Seatbelt violations. A seatbelt violation carries a $20 fine. Seatbelt violations will also result in additional penalties for first-year drivers and instruction permit holders.

Violation enforcement. Take note that while drivers cannot be stopped solely for a seatbelt violation, they can be stopped for a child restraint violation.

Exceptions to Montana's Car Seat Requirements

Certain occupations like garbage collectors, rural postmen, and newspaper deliverers are exempt from seatbelt requirements. Also, the requirements do not apply to persons with physician-certified medical conditions that prohibit the use of safety restraints.

Seatbelt requirements do not apply to vehicles designed for two passengers if both passengers are at least four years old.

Register You Car Seat for Recall Information

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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