Missouri car seat laws are in place to help children stay safe if the vehicle crashes. When car seats are installed and used properly, your child will be safe each time they are in your car.
Missouri car seat laws require any child under the age of four to use an approved child safety seat at all times. Children under one should use a rear-facing car seat and children two to four may sit forward-facing.
Children who are older than four but younger than eight may move into an approved booster seat, as long as the seat belt fits properly. Once the child is eight, is 4; 9” or 80 pounds, they may move into an adult seat belt.
In Missouri, children of any age may sit in the front seat of a vehicle. All the necessary car seat laws must be followed, whether the child is sitting in the front or the back of the vehicle. Let’s look more in-depth at these car seat laws to help you learn the best way to keep your child safe.
New Missouri Car Seat Laws 2020
Missouri car seat laws require that parents keep their child in the appropriate child safety seat. This is the best way to keep them safe. Some of the specific rules that parents should follow include:
Missouri Car Seat Laws Rear-Facing
Missouri car seat laws require any child under a year and less than 20 pounds to use a rear-facing car seat. These children should also remain in the back seat.
Since most rear-facing car seats are designed to hold up to 35 pounds, you may want to consider keeping your child rear-facing for longer. The minimum in Missouri is one year though.
In addition to keeping your infant rear-facing, make sure to adjust the harness straps of the car seat so they fit right below the shoulders. This will make sure the chest strap will keep them safe.
The car seat should be reclined enough so the head of your child will not fall forward. Most car seats come with a line or arrow that should be even to the seat to make this easier.
Missouri Car Seat Laws Forward-Facing
Missouri car seat laws allow children older than one year, and heavier than 20 pounds, to use a forward-facing car seat. However, many parents choose to keep their children rear-facing until they reach two years of age.
When using a forward-facing car seat, do not leave your child near an airbag as that can cause harm. Always make sure the seat is securely fastened with a seat belt.
Choose a forward-facing car seat that can hold onto heavier weights. This helps you keep your child in the car seat for a little longer for added protection. Many forward-facing car seat can hold children up to 65 pounds to give your child plenty of room to grow.
Missouri Car Seat Booster Laws
Missouri booster seat laws allow children who are more than 40 pounds to move over to a booster seat. This is the minimum your child should weight before making the switch.
Since many car seats can hold children up to 50 or more, many parents decide to wait a little longer before making the switch. Missouri allows children of this weight to be in a booster seat though.
When your child moves to a booster seat, make sure that the seat belt will fit them properly. The lap belt needs to fit right on their thighs and not on their stomach. And the shoulder belt needs to fit right across the chest and not under the arm.
You have two options if the seat belt is not working well. You can keep your child in the proper child safety seat. Or you can choose to use a booster seat with a back to help guide the seat belt a little more.
When Can a Child Stop Using a Booster Seat in Missouri?
Missouri car seat laws have three main determinants on when your child can stop using a booster seat. These include the height, age, and weight of the child.
First, your child should remain in a booster seat until they are at least eight years old. Most booster seats are designed to hold this much weight easily and it is safer for your child.
However, if your child grows quickly, they may be able to get out of the booster seat a little faster. When your child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller, or they are 80 pounds, they may start to use an adult seat belt.
Keeping your child in the booster seat a little longer can add some more safety for everyone. One of the three requirements above must be met before moving your child to a regular seat belt.
Missouri Car Seat Laws Front Seat
Missouri car seat laws allow a child of any age to ride in the front seat of a car. The parents must adhere to all of the other child restraint laws in the state.
This means that a child under the age of four and less than 40 pounds must sit in an approved car seat while riding in the front. A child who is four, but younger than eight, must use a booster seat unless they are over 80 pounds.
Once the child surpasses all of those requirements, they may sit in the front seat wearing the proper seat belt. While it is legal for children of any age to sit in the front of the vehicle, be careful with the airbags. If the child must sit in front of an airbag, turn it off to prevent injury.
Missouri Seat Belt Laws
Missouri seat belt laws require all children ages four to 15 to wear a seat belt. This is true no matter what vehicle they are in or whether they sit in front or in back during the ride.
Anyone who is under the age of 18 who is operating or riding a truck must also wear a seat belt. No one younger than 18 should ride in the bed of a truck with the weight less than 12,000 pounds.
It is also recommended that children under the age of 12 sit in the back of the vehicle. While Missouri allows children of all ages to sit in the front, the back seat is the safest place for your child.
You should consider wearing a seat belt even when you are older than 18. While Missouri does not have laws in place for this, wearing a seat belt is one of the best ways to keep you safe on the road.
Does My Child Need to Wear a Seat Belt on the Bus?
Missouri car seat laws do not require children to wear a seat belt on a school bus when traveling to and from school.
School buses are equipped with its own passive restraint system that is known as compartmentalization. This means that the seating area of the bus has been built with high-back, thicker, and wider seats that can protect the students in case of an accident.
As long as you and your child agree to follow the other safety rules put in place by your district, your child will be safe on the school bus.
Car Seat Rules for Taxi and Uber Drivers
Missouri car seat laws require anyone who is traveling with a taxi or an Uber to follow all the necessary laws. Uber and taxi drivers should also enforce these laws before allowing parents and children in the car.
It is the responsibility of the account holder to bring along the necessary child safety seat. The car seat they use will depend on the age, height, and weight of the child.
Whenever possible, children under the age of 12 should sit in the back seat of the taxi or Uber. This is the safest place for them. All passengers, regardless of age, should follow the Missouri seat belt laws while riding in an Uber and a taxi.
Although your Uber driver is not required to keep a child safety seat on hand, some may have this available. If you need a child safety seat while traveling in Missouri, call ahead and see if this is possible.
Penalties for Not Following Missouri Car Seat Laws
Missouri car seat laws require all children to be in the proper child safety seat for their size and weight. Failure to do this will result in the driver receiving a citation.
The fine for violating these laws is $50 plus court fees. If seat belt laws were not followed, then this may be an additional fine of $10.
The driver can get the charges and fees dismissed before their court appearance. If this is their first citation, they can prove they acquired the right child safety seat and get the fees and charges removed.
Missouri car seat laws are in place to help make sure your child is safe while on the road. Following these not only help you avoid a citation and a ticket, but can make traveling on the road a little safer for everyone.