Utah has child safety seat and seat belt requirements that generally apply to all children. Drivers are responsible for ensuring children who are under the age of 16 years old are properly secured. The type of restraint required varies depending on the age, weight, and height of the child and the guidelines of the child seat manufacturer.
Child safety seat requirements. Under Utah law, children who are younger than eight years old generally must be secured in a child safety seat or booster seat that meets federal standards. (Federal law sets the safety requirements for all types of child safety seats.) The law also requires that the seat or restraint system be used in a manner that's consistent with the instructions of the manufacturer. Children who are younger than eight years old but at least 57 inches tall can use a normal seat belt.
Type of car seat. Generally, there are three types of child safety seats: rear-facing, forward-facing, and boosters. Utah law doesn't specify which type of car seats must be used for child vehicle passengers. Instead, the law requires parents to use safety seats in a manner consistent with the instructions of the safety seat manufacturer. So, in deciding which type of restraint system to use, parents should use manufacturer instructions as the guide.
Utah law generally allows children who are at least eight years old or at least 57 inches tall to use a normal seat belt. All vehicle passengers are required to wear seat belts. But the driver is responsible for ensuring all passengers younger than 16 years old are properly secured.
Utah law doesn't specifically say children can't ride in the front seat of a vehicle. However, in securing children, the law does require parents to use their safety seat or restraint system in a manner that's consistent with the manufacturer's instructions.
A number of exceptions to the normal seat belt and safety seat rules are written into Utah law. The rules don't apply to:
But if you have specific questions about compliance, it's probably best to consult with law enforcement about the law's requirements. Also, Utah has a number of car seat inspection stations where you can verify the safety of your child restraint system.
A child safety seat or seat belt violation is an infraction and carries a maximum fine of $45 put no traffic violation demerit points. However, for a first offense, the driver can get the fine waived by providing proof of obtaining a proper child restraint system.
For more information about child safety seats, you can go to the Utah Department of Public Safety website. Also, recalls are occasionally issued for child safety seats. To find out about recalls, you can register with the NHTSA to receive recall information about the seat you have or search for recalls that have already been issued.