Car Seat Laws

Indiana Car Seat Laws | Front Seat & Rear Facing Requirements

Indiana car seat laws are meant to help keep your child safe. Since car seat laws vary from one state to another, it is critical to understand how they work in Indiana. This helps you to drive safely and avoid any fines. 

The Indiana car seat laws require children under age 1 and 20 pounds to be rear-facing, while older children can be forward-facing. Older children who exceed the requirements on the car seat may move to a booster seat. 

All children ages 16 and younger must either be in a child seat or wear a seatbelt. Children ages 8 and younger must be in a child seat. Some discretion is left to the parents on whether their children must stay in the child seats longer.  Let us take a look at the Indiana car seat laws to help you keep your child safe while driving. 

What are the Indiana Car Seat Laws?

All children under the age of eight are required to be in an approved car seat or booster. Always follow the instructions from the manufacturer on how to use the car seat. Many of these child safety seats have weight and height limits to keep your child safe. 

Indiana Rear-Facing Laws 

Indiana car seat laws require any child who is under one year old and less than 20 pounds to sit rear-facing. This helps to prevent any injury to the neck and head in case of an accident or collision. 

Any child under the age of one, and less than 20 pounds, must use the proper rear-facing car seat. This will help protect their necks and heads in case of a collision. It is the safest position for your child. 

Child in Rear Facing Car Seat

Many parents can choose to keep the child rear-facing for longer. In fact, most child car seats will allow the child to stay rear-facing until they reach 35 pounds. It is recommended that your child stay rear-facing for as long as possible. But the law requires your child to remain rear-facing until they are at least one. 

Forward-Facing Car Seat Laws 

Indiana’s forward facing car seat laws allow children who are one year or older, and 20 pounds, to use a forward-facing car seat. The car seat must have an internal harness system. 

This age is the minimum the child must be to turn around. Many car seats are designed for children up to three years old. Keeping the child rear-facing for longer is often recommended. 

The longer you can keep your child in a rear-facing car seat, the safer it is for them. While Indiana car seat laws do not require it, you may want to wait until your child is two before turning them around. 

Children ages one to four will need to use a child safety seat. There are different options to choose from based on the age, height, and weight of your child. 

For the best safety, make sure to read all recommendations from the car seat manufacturer before use. This will tell you when, and for how long, you should use the car seat for your child. 

Booster Seat Laws 

Indiana booster car seat law states that children who way more than 30 pounds may transition to a booster seat. This is much lower than the booster seat laws in other states. 

You may find your child is still too small for a booster seat at this weight. Many car seats can handle up to 35 pounds rear-facing, and 50 to 60 pounds forward-facing. 

Indiana state troopers recommend that while you may use a booster seat for smaller children, it is best to wait until they are 40 pounds or more. Your child is safer in a car seat than a booster seat. 

Indiana Booster Seat Law

When first transitioning to a booster seat, choose one with a high back. This adds a level of safety and security by placing the seat belt at the right height location. 

Adjust the seat belt accordingly. It should fit right across the shoulders and on the lap, instead of the stomach, of the child. If the seat belt is not comfortable for your child, consider going back to a car seat. 

As the child gets older, you can consider working with a regular booster seat without a back. Indiana booster seat laws do not specify when this should happen. Waiting until your child is closer to six or seven is often recommended. 

Indiana Car Seat Laws for Children 8 and Under       

Indiana car seat laws require all children younger than eight to use some kind of child restraint system. You must choose the right child seat based on the recommended height and weight of the manufacturer. 

Each car seat is different, with some holding heavier weights than others. For example, some forward-facing car seats can hold children up to 60 pounds. This allows parents to keep their children safe in the car seat for longer. 

Once your child has outgrown the child safety seat, it is time to move them to a booster seat. There are several types of booster seats that work based on the age and height of your child. 

Parents can choose whether to keep their children in the booster seat for longer. Indiana booster seat law does require the child to stay in a car seat or booster seat until age 8. 

Indiana Car Seat Laws for Children Under 16

Indiana car seat laws allow children older than eight to start sitting without a car seat. They must still use a seat belt to keep themselves safe. 

All children under the age of 16 must be restrained through a child restraint system or a seat belt. From ages 8 to 16, the seat belt is the required safety feature for your child.

Riding in the back seat is the best option for the safety of your child. This will protect them best from any collisions. Older children should remain in the back seat too. 

However, Indiana car seat laws do not list an age for when a child may move to the front seat. This is left up to the discretion of the parent but should be reserved for when the child is eight or older.                              

Indiana Car Seat Laws for Trucks

Indiana car seat laws do not specifically mention how to ride in a truck with your child. It is generally safest to keep your child in the back seat to protect them. 

However, if you drive with your child in a truck, follow the other rules for car seat safety. Children under one should remain rear facing. All children under the age of eight must be in the proper car seat or booster seat, even in the front of a truck. 

Most trucks have wide enough seats to handle both rear and forward-facing child seats. Keep the child away from active airbags if possible. If the vehicle has a back seat, the child must sit back there. If the truck does not, follow all other car seat laws in Indiana to keep them safe. 

Penalties for Violating Indiana Car Seat Laws

Penalties for violating Indiana car seat laws will include fines that parents and other caregivers must pay. Points will also be added to your license. When enough points are on your license, you may have it suspended or taken away. 

Always follow the car or booster seat age and weight requirements discussed above. You must comply with all car seat regulations whether you are just driving through the state or live there and you have child passengers. 

The fines and penalties will vary depending on the violation. Most tickets are $50 for first offenses. Points will be assessed based on the severity of the violation. 

Important Things to Consider When Transporting Your Child

Indiana car seat laws would like to remind parents, and anyone else who transports children, to follow the safety tips below:

  1. You should always properly secure the child seat. This can be done with the LATCH system or the seat belt of the vehicle. The car seat should be secure and not move forward or side to side. 
  2. All children younger than one and 20 pounds must stay rear facing. 
  3. The retainer clip that connects the harness straps must be at armpit level on the child. 
  4. Keep the harness straps snug on the child. 

These additional recommendations help to keep your child safe and comfortable in the car seat while driving. Take a few minutes extra before driving to check these are in place. 

Conclusion

Indiana car seat laws are in place to help keep your child safe. Children who are under the age of one must stay in the rear-facing seat while those who are at least 30 pounds can use a booster seat. 

All children under the age of eight need to be in child seat or booster seat by law in Indiana. This helps to keep them safe in case a big accident does happen. With the right car seat, and following the Indiana car seat laws, your child will stay safe no matter where you go. 

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

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