Car Seat Laws

Indiana Car Seat Laws 2022 [Age & Weight Requirements]

Generally, the laws of a country are supposed to protect the people or citizens collectively or individually. The same goes for the Indiana Booster Seat laws put in place to prevent the death of children in vehicle crashes. Each year, many children lose their lives to vehicle crashes while many others sustain injuries.

In Indiana, everyone in a vehicle must be adequately restrained as long as the vehicle is in motion. Vehicle Occupants from 12 years and above must wear a seat belt. Children under 12 years of age are required to use boosters and car seats appropriate for their age, height, and weight. Car seats and booster seats are made to protect babies and children in a vehicle crash.

According to the Child Passenger Safety rule in Indiana, All children below 8 years old must be correctly and safely restrained in a booster or safety seat with the child restraint system manufacturer’s instructions. While Children weighing 30 pounds may use a booster seat, it is advised they are seated in a forward-facing seat until their weight is 40 pounds. All children in Indiana below 16 years old must be correctly and safely restrained either by using a child restraint system which includes the booster seats, or a seat belt.

What Are Indiana’s Child Restraint And Booster Seat Laws?

According to the Indiana Legislative Laws, occupants of a moving motor vehicle must use a safety belt that

  1. “meets the standards stated in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 208 (49 CFR 571.208).”
  2. “is standard belt installed by the manufacturer; shall have a safety belt appropriately fastened about the occupant’s body at all times when the vehicle is moving.”

With the above in mind, below are Indiana’s child restraint and booster seat laws by the Indiana State Police.

All children under the age of 8 must not go in a moving vehicle without being correctly restrained in boosters and child safety seats. 

Indiana Rear Facing Car Seat Law

Infants below one year and weigh less than 20 pounds must be placed and restrained safely in a rear-facing child safety seat. Many recent version car seats have about 30-35 pounds rear-facing restraint limit. As advised by the Indiana State Police, parents should keep their children rear-facing for as long as it takes.

Indiana Infant Car Seat Law

Using an approved internal harness system, a one-year-old child weighing 20 pounds can be restrained safely in a forward-facing child safety seat.

Indiana Booster Car Seat Law

Children weighing 30 pounds are required to use an approved booster seat. However, it is advised that parents let their children remain restrained in a forward-facing seat until they weigh 40 pounds.

Indiana law states that all children below the age of eight are required to use a child restraint system following the child restraint system manufacturer’s instruction, suitable and safe for the child’s weight and height.

Therefore, the booster seat is the ideal child restraint system for children within this age bracket. Also, children below 16 years old should be correctly restrained either by using an approved seat belt or booster seat.

At What Age Can Children Sit In The Front Seat?

Most time, you find children wanting to sit in the front seat with their parents to be close to them. However, the United States Department of Transportation recommends that a child remain seated at the back of a moving vehicle until they are 13 years old. Sitting on the back seat is the safest place for a child as airbags are dangerous for them during a crash.

Therefore, parents are encouraged to allow their wards to remain seated at the back seat for as long as possible.

Can I Leave Child Unattended In A Vehicle?

Although, Indiana doesn’t have any laws guiding leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. However, is it not advised that parents leave their children alone in a vehicle as anything can happen to them. Also, children don’t really like being left alone, especially those still very young.

Can One Smoke With A Child In The Car In Indiana?

Even though no law says one cannot smoke with a child in the car in Indiana, it is not morally right. Nevertheless, lawmakers in Indiana have proposed a bill to make smoking in a vehicle with a child illegal.

Can You Continue Using Your Car Seat After A Crash?

Using a car seat after an accident depends mainly on the accident’s severity. However, it is advised that car seats be replaced to ensure 100% safety for a child. Nevertheless, one may not necessarily need to replace a car seat in a minor accident.

You may want to ask how to measure if an accident is minor or severe. Below are some parameters to measure. An accident is minor if 

  1. The vehicle was driven away from the accident scene.
  2. There are no damages on the vehicle door closest to the car seat.
  3. When no passenger in the vehicle sustained any injuries during the accident
  4. If the vehicle airbags are not deployed during the accident
  5. If there is no noticeable damage to the car seat

With all the above in mind, it is safe to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and not use a car seat involved in a severe crash. This is because such car seats may no longer be safe for your child. 

Can I Make Use Of A Used Car Seat In Indiana?

There are no spelled out laws against using used or second-hand car seats in Indiana. Notwithstanding, a child’s safety is highly essential when it comes to car seats. Below are some vital things to consider regarding used or second-hand Car Seats in Indiana. 

It is safe to use if the used or second-hand car seats

  1. Has never been involved in a severe car accident.
  2. Have original tags with manufacturer’s instructions, model number, and date. This will help to verify if the seat is outdated or recalled)
  3. Can be fixed by the manufacturer in case of a recall. 
  4. Have all original parts intact, or if missing parts can be gotten from the manufacturer and replaced.
  5. Has its instruction manual or a new one gotten from the manufacturer.

Why Should You Obey Car Seat Laws?

The first thing that should prompt you to obey car seat laws is the heart-wrenching thought of losing your child to a car accident that can be prevented by obeying simple rules.

What happens on the highway while driving is never predicted, and vehicle crashes are about the highest cause of death in children and adults. According to the NHTSA, it was discovered that about 59% of car seats are not correctly installed. 

The Indiana Legislative Law states that  A person operating a motor vehicle equipped with a safety belt meeting the standards stated in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 208 (49 CFR 571.208) with an unrestrained child on board commits a Class D infraction if:

(a) The child is eight years old but less than sixteen old

(b) The child is not correctly and safely restrained by a child restraint system or a seat belt according to the child restraint system manufacturer’s instructions.

These sets of laws were put in place for the safety of your children and the prevention of their lives from vehicle crashes. 

What Are The Car Available Car Seat Types?

Choosing the right car seat type can make a big difference between life and death. Ignorance about which car seat is suitable for a child can be costly. According to the United States Department of Transportation, there are three types of car seats. 

Rear-Facing Car Seat Types

These are the best seat for babies and infants. It is made with cradles and a harness that moves in the baby’s direction preventing the spinal cord and fragile neck from any harm or injury. Below are three types of rear-facing car seats.

  1. Infant Rear-Facing Car Seat – These types are small, portable, and rear-facing only and made for newborns and babies not so big. Most babies no longer use the Infant Rear-Facing Car Seat before they are one year old. Find out the proper way to install an Infant Rear-Facing Car Seat here
  2. Convertible Car Seat – As mentioned above, most babies outgrow their Rear-Facing Car Seat before they are one, which means a change in the car seat. As the name implies, the convertible car seat can be rear-facing and forward-facing with a harness and tether. The Convertible Car Seat can be used for children of different sizes and also allow a child to remain rear-facing as long as possible. Find out about the installation of a Convertible Car Seat here.
  3. All-In-One Car Seat – The All-in-One Car Seat can be converted into three rear-facing seats, forward-facing with a harness and tether, and a booster car seat. The All-in-One Car Seat is ideal for children of different ages and sizes; however. It is recommended that parents purchase car seats that are the best fit for their children. Find out how to install the All-in-One Car Seat here

Forward-Facing Car Seat Types

The forward-facing car seat comes with a harness and tether that restrict a child’s forward movement and protect them during a vehicle crash. The Forward-facing car seats are of three types. 

  • The convertible car seats – can be easily changed from a rear-facing to a forward-facing with a harness and tether as required by the child’s age, height, and weight. Click here for the correct installation instructions.
  • Combination Seat – can be converted from a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether into a booster seat as the child grows. Click herefor the correct installation instructions.
  • All-in-One Seat – can be converted to the three types mentioned above. From a rear-facing to forward-facing, and also to a booster car seat. All conversions also depend on the child’s age, height, and weight as the child grows. Click herefor the correct installation instructions

Indiana Booster Seat Law

Booster Car Seats Types 

Lift and safely position a child properly that the car’s lap-and-shoulder belt rest appropriately over the center of gravity of a child’s body. The center of gravity is the strong point of a child’s body which is hip and across the chest. The Booster Car Seats comes in various types.

  • High Back Booster Car Seats. They are designed majorly for vehicles without headrests or vehicles with low seat backs. They provide head and neck support and help raise a child so the seat belt can be fixed appropriately. Click here for correct installation instructions.
  • Backless Booster Seat: designed for vehicles with headrests and used to lift a child to fit a car seat belt. Click here for correct installation instructions.
  • Combination Seat: this can be converted into a booster seat from a forward-facing seat with a harness. Click here for correct installation instructions.
  • All-in-One Seat: An all-encompassing car seat that can be converted from a rear-facing to forward-facing, and also to a booster car seat. Conversions are required as a child grows. Click here for correct installation instructions.

Some Car Seat Recommendations For The State Of Indiana

Below are some crucial tips and car seat recommendations for the state Of Indiana

  1. Parents are advised to use a car seat appropriate for their child’s age, weight, and height. This is because the sitting position of a child changes as they grow. 
  2. There is never a one-size-fits-all car seat; therefore, there are different car seats for different vehicles as not all seats fit in all vehicles. It is, therefore, necessary to test the car seat you want to buy and make sure it is appropriate for your vehicle before purchase.
  3. Buy a car seat with a manual having simple instructions for proper installation and uses always.
  4. Read through the manufacturer’s instructional manual to check the right car seat appropriate for the height and weight of your child and the limits.
  5. To ensure your child’s safety, do not be in a hurry to stop them from using booster seat cars and car seats. It is advised you keep them in the car seat as long as they fit the manufacturer’s age and size requirements.
  6. Make sure children below 12 are seated at the back at all times in a moving vehicle.
  7. Please check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recommendations for more information. 

Other Helpful Resources To Ensure The Safety Of Your Child

  1. Click on this link for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s car seat recommendations for children according to their size and age. 
  2. Find the right car seat for your child by typing in their date of birth, weight, and height in the search box. Click on this link to find the right car seat now. 
  3. You can register your child for Automotive Safety Programs such as 
  4. Buckle-Up Bug Club was designed for children from grade k to grade 3 to encourage seat belt usage. Buckle-Up Bug Club is available state-wide. 
  5. Passenger safety education organized by the ICJI through the Automotive Safety Program. The ASP has certified and experienced child passenger safety technicians to train your child and assist families. 
  6. Car Seat Clinics: a one-day event where child passenger safety technicians educate and give out car seats to needy families. Click hereto view an upcoming clinic.
  7. Click on this link for an appointment to get your car seat inspected at a Child Safety Seat Inspection Station.
  8. Check here for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations’ ease of use rating for different car seats and models.

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. 

Final Thought

The legislative law of the Indiana state requires all children below the age of eight to use a child restraint system following the child restraint system manufacturer’s instruction, suitable and safe for the child’s weight and height.

The choice of an infant rear-facing car seat, forward-facing car seat, or Booster car seat depends mainly on your child’s age, weight, height, and type of your vehicle.

Your child’s safety when they are in a moving vehicle with you is partly your responsibility. Read through this article for Indiana booster seat laws and other safety tip to save your child during a vehicle crash. 

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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