Missouri Car Seat Laws (2023)

According to a 2017 study, it was found that seatbelts have a life-saving impact. Out of the 79 children who tragically died in motor vehicle accidents in Missouri that year, 55 were not properly restrained by seat belts during the crashes. 

To ensure child safety, Missouri has enacted car seat laws that mandate the use of approved child safety seats for children under the age of 4 and weighing below 40 pounds. 

Infants below one must be placed in rear-facing car seats, while children between two and four can utilize forward-facing car seats.

Parents, caregivers, or drivers who fail to comply with Missouri car seat laws would get a $50 fine. 

Missouri Car Seat Laws

Under the Missouri law of Section 307.179, the State highlights several regulations for drivers or parents transporting children in a moving vehicle. 

Forward-Facing Car Seat Laws in Missouri

Children must ride in a front-facing car seat in Missouri until they meet one of the following conditions:

Front-Facing Car Seat Age

Children should continue using a front-facing car seat until they are four. This age requirement ensures that children are well-protected and secured while traveling in motor vehicles.

Front-Facing Car Seat Weight

If a child weighs less than 40 pounds, they must continue using a front-facing car seat. This weight requirement ensures that children below a certain weight threshold receive the necessary protection and support from the car seat.

Front-Facing Car Seat Height

Missouri does not specify a height requirement for transitioning to a front-facing car seat. However, it is generally recommended to follow the height limits provided by the car seat manufacturer to ensure optimal safety.

Missouri Car Seat Laws on Booster Seats

Children between 4 and 7, who possess a minimum weight of 40 pounds, are obliged to occupy an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat unless they meet the criteria of weighing 80 pounds or standing at least 4’9″ tall.

Children eight years and above, weighing at least 80 pounds, or standing at least 4’9″ tall, must be firmly secured by a safety belt or appropriately fastened into a booster seat.

When selecting a booster seat for a child within these parameters, choose one appropriate for their height and weight. 

Missouri law allows for the option of using either a high back or a backless booster seat, depending on the specific requirements and preferences of the child and their caregiver.

A high-back booster seat provides additional support and protection for the child’s head and neck, while a backless booster seat provides elevation to ensure proper seat belt positioning. 

Booster seats can be utilized under Missouri’s child booster seat law if they meet the necessary height and weight requirements.

Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws in Missouri

No specific law mandates the use of rear-facing car seats for children in Missouri. However, the child seat requirements in the state outline specific guidelines for child safety. 

All children under four must be securely fastened in a child restraint system. It is crucial to install the child restraint system according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure proper usage and effectiveness.

Missouri law does not specify the age children can transition from a rear-facing car seat. 

But the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain in an infant rear-facing car seat for at least two years or until they exceed the upper height and weight limits set by the seat’s manufacturer. Following these AAP recommendations enhances child safety during travel.

Even if there is no specific Missouri law regarding rear-facing child seats, violating the general car seat law can result in a maximum penalty of $50 in addition to court costs. 

This emphasizes the importance of complying with car seat regulations to ensure the safety of children while traveling.

Child Seat Belt Law in Missouri

As per Missouri’s child seat belt law, specific provisions to ensure the safety of children between 8 and 16 years old are in place. 

The law mandates that these children, weighing at least 80 pounds or standing taller than 4’9″, must wear an adult safety belt while traveling in a motor vehicle.

The adult safety belt must be securely fastened to ensure optimal protection, fitting snugly across the child’s lap and shoulders. This proper fit is crucial in preventing any potential injuries or harm in a collision.

The law stipulates that the child must wear a safety belt regardless of their seating position. This requirement emphasizes the importance of consistently and adequately using the adult safety belt to maximize the child’s safety during transportation.

Law on Leaving a Child Unattended in a Vehicle in Missouri

It is unlawful to leave a child below 11 inside a car without the presence and supervision of an individual at least 14 years old in Missouri.

The safety of children in Missouri is prioritized under this law. It recognizes the potential risks and dangers of leaving them unattended in vehicles. 

By requiring the presence of a responsible person aged 14 or older, the law aims to ensure appropriate supervision and swift action in case of emergencies.

Leaving a child without adequate supervision in a vehicle can expose them to various hazards, such as extreme temperatures, accidental injury, or even the potential for abduction. 

The law serves as a protective measure to mitigate these risks and uphold the welfare of young individuals.

Child Front Seat Law in Missouri

The absence of a specific child front seat law in Missouri leaves room for interpretation and guidance from reputable sources. 

In this case, the recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics serve as a valuable reference. The AAP advises that children should remain in the backseat until they reach 13.

While Missouri does not provide explicit clarity regarding the age at which children can occupy the front seat, it is prudent to adhere to the AAP’s recommendations. 

These guidelines are formulated based on extensive research and prioritize the safety and well-being of children during car travel.

The backseat offers a higher level of protection for children. It minimizes their exposure to potential hazards, such as airbag deployment during a collision. Following the AAP’s advice ensures that children continue to benefit from the enhanced safety measures provided by the backseat until they reach the recommended age threshold.

Ridesharing Child Seat Law in Missouri

Missouri’s current regulations do not include a specific law addressing child seat requirements in ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. 

However, under Missouri’s general car seat regulations, children under eight must be secured in a child safety system while traveling in motor vehicles.

Although the specific mention of ridesharing services is absent, it is crucial to prioritize the safety of children when utilizing such transportation options. 

While ridesharing companies may have policies and guidelines regarding child safety seats, parents should bring their appropriate child restraint system when traveling with young children in these vehicles. 

This allows for consistent compliance with established safety standards and ensures maximum protection for children during ridesharing journeys.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Regulations Regarding Child Safety Seats in Missouri?

In compliance with Missouri laws, children under eight must be secured in an appropriate child safety system when traveling in motor vehicles. 

This includes using rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, booster seats, et cetera.

When Is It Recommended to Transition From a Rear-Facing to a Forward-Facing Car Seat in Missouri?

The transition from a rear-facing to a forward-facing car seat is not solely based on age in Missouri. 

It is advised to follow the guidelines provided by car seat manufacturers and the American Academy of Pediatrics to determine the appropriate timing for this transition, considering the child’s growth and development.

Are There Specific Criteria for Using a Booster Seat in Missouri, Such as Height and Weight Requirements?

Missouri car seat laws do not establish specific height and weight requirements for booster usage. 

However, it is generally recommended to continue using a booster seat until the child reaches a height of 4’9″ or until the seat belt fits properly across the lap and shoulder, ensuring effective restraint and optimal protection.

Do Missouri Car Seat Laws Address Child Seat Usage in Ridesharing Services Like Uber or Lyft?

Missouri car seat laws do not mention child seat requirements in ridesharing services. 

But, to prioritize the safety of children, parents and caregivers should provide their appropriate child restraint system when using such services, adhering to recognized safety standards.

What Penalties Can Be Incurred for Non-compliance With Missouri Car Seat Laws?

Non-compliance with Missouri car seat laws may result in a fine of $50 and additional court costs. It is crucial to abide by these laws, ensuring proper restraints for children. 

Apart from the legal consequences, the law guarantees the safety and well-being of young passengers during their travel experiences.


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