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Car Seat Safety: State by State

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Car Seat Safety: State by State
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Did you recently PCS to a new state? Have you thought to check if your new state has different car seat guidelines? Don’t worry if you haven’t, we’ve got your back! Every state in the U.S. has a military installation, but here at DMM, we made it easy to find what your new home state has to say about child car seat safety.

Ages and Stages

While all state requirements may vary slightly, all states do strongly suggest the following information, per the expertise of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

Under the age of 1 – Children must always ride rear facing

Ages 1 through 3 – Keep your children rear facing for as long as possible in either an infant or rear facing convertible seat. They should remain rear facing until the height and weight limit for rear-facing use on that seat has been reached. This may result in many children riding rear-facing to age 2 or older. (Think your child may be uncomfortable? Read why that’s a myth here.)

Ages 4 through 7 – Keep children in a forward-facing seat with a five-point harness to the maximum height and weight limit allowed by the seat. Then transition them to a booster seat.

RELATED: Is your Car Seat Ready for an Overseas Move?

Ages 8 through 12 – Keep children in a booster seat until they either exceed the height/weight requirement for remaining in a booster seat or until they are big enough to fit the criteria for fitting appropriately in a seat belt. The shoulder belt should lie across the shoulder and chest, not across the neck or face, and the lap belt must lie across the upper thighs, not the stomach.

“All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection” (AAP).

car seat safety by base chicco

Find Your Location

Scroll down to see if your child should be in a rear-facing infant seat, forward-facing or convertible seat, or booster. We all want our kids to be as safe as possible when driving in a car!

Car Seat Safety, State by State

Alabama

Rear-facing: under 1 year and less than 20 lbs.

Forward-facing: under 5 years and less than 40 lbs.

Booster or child safety seat: under 6 years

Alaska

Rear-facing: under 1 year and less than 20 lbs.

Forward-facing: between 1-5 years and greater than 20 lbs.

Booster or child safety seat: between 4-8 years, under 57” and between 20 to 65 lbs.

Arizona

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: under 8 years and under 57’’

Booster or child safety seat: under 8 years and under 57’’

Arkansas

Rear-facing: under 1

Forward-facing: under 7 years and less than 60 lbs.

Booster or child safety seat: between 8 and 12 years

California

Rear-facing: under 2 years and less than 40 lbs. or under 40’’

Forward-facing: under 8 years

Booster or child safety seat: under 8 years and under 57’’

Colorado

Rear-facing: under 1 year and less than 20 lbs.

Forward-facing: under 4 years and less than 40 lbs.

Booster: under 8 years

Delaware

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: under 8 years

Booster: under 8 years and less than 66 lbs.

District of Columbia

Rear-facing: under 1 year and less than 20 lbs.

Forward-facing: under 8 years

Booster: under 8 years

Florida

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: under 5 years

Booster: under 8 years or 57’’

Georgia

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: under 8 years and under 57’’

Booster: between 8-12 years or under 57’’

Hawaii

Rear-facing: under 2 years or less than 20 lbs.

Forward-facing: under 4 years

Booster: over 40 lbs.

Idaho

Rear-facing: under 2 years or less than 20 lbs.

Forward-facing: under 7 years

Booster: under 7 years

Illinois

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: under 8 years

Booster: between 8-12 years

Indiana

Rear-facing: under 1 year and less than 20 lbs.

Forward-facing: under 4 years and less than 40 lbs.

Booster: under 8 years and less than 40 lbs.

Kansas

Rear-facing: under 1 year

Forward-facing: under 4 years

Booster: between 4 and 8 years and less than 80 lbs. or under 57’’

Kentucky

Rear-facing: under 1 year

Forward-facing: under 40 lbs.

Booster: under 8 years and between 40-57’’

Louisiana

Rear-facing: under 1 year or less than 20 lbs.

Forward-facing: under 4 years and less than 40 lbs.

Booster: under 57”

Maryland

Rear-facing: under 1 year

Forward-facing: under 4 and less than 40 lbs.

Booster: under 57”

Massachusetts

Rear-facing: under 1 year

Forward-facing: between 4-7 years

Booster: under 8 years and under 57”

Mississippi

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: under 4 years

Booster: under 57” and less than 65 lbs.

Missouri

Rear-facing: under 1 year or under 20”

Forward-facing: under 4 years or less than 40 lbs.

Booster: Between 4-8 years and under 57” or less than 80 lbs.

Montana

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: under 6 years and less than 60 lbs.

Booster: between 5-8 years and under 57”

Nebraska

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: under 6 years

Booster: under 8 years

Nevada

Rear-facing: under 1 year

Forward-facing: under 6 years

Booster: under 8 years

New Jersey

Rear-facing: under 2 years and less than 30 lbs.

Forward-facing: under 4 years and less than 40 lbs.

Booster: under 8 years and under 57”

New Mexico

Rear-facing: under 1 year

Forward-facing: under 4 years and under 40”

Booster: under 7 years and 60″

New York

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: under 4 years and less than 40 lbs.

Booster: under 8 years and under 57”

North Carolina

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: until the child reaches the harness’s highest size limit allowed by the manufacturer

Booster: under 8 years and less than 80 lbs.

North Dakota

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: until the child reaches the harness’s highest size limit allowed by the manufacturer

Booster: under 8 years and under 57”

Ohio

Rear-facing: under 1 year

Forward-facing: under 4 years

Booster: under 8 years

Oklahoma

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: under 4 years

Booster: under 8 years

Pennsylvania

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: under 4 years

Booster: under 8 years

Puerto Rico

Rear-facing: under 1 year

Forward-facing: under 4 years

Booster: under 8 years and under 57”

Rhode Island

Rear-facing: under 2 years and less than 30 lbs.

Forward-facing: until the child reaches the harness’s highest size limit allowed by the manufacturer

Booster: under 8 years

South Carolina

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: under 4 years

Booster: under 8 years and under 57”

Tennessee

Rear-facing: under 1 year and less than 20 lbs.

Forward-facing: under 4 years and less than 20 lbs.

Booster: under 9 years and under 57”

Texas

Rear-facing: under 2 years and less than 35 lbs.

Forward-facing: under 4 years and less than 40 lbs.

Booster: over 4 years and greater than 40 lbs.

Utah

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: under 4 years and less than 40 lbs.

Booster: under 8 years and under 57”

Virginia

Rear-facing: under 1 year and less than 20 lbs.

Forward-facing: under 4 years and less than 40 lbs.

Booster: under 8 years

Washington

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: under 4 years and less than 40 lbs.

Booster: under 8 years and under 57”

Wisconsin

Rear-facing: under 1 year and less than 20 lbs.

Forward-facing: under 4 years and less than 40 lbs.

Booster: under 8 years and under 57”

Wyoming

Rear-facing: under 2 years

Forward-facing: until the child reaches the harness’s highest size limit allowed by the manufacturer

Booster: under 8 years and under 57”

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Wouldn’t it just be easier if all states could adhere to the same child car seat safety requirements, that way we wouldn’t have to remember to check for changes everytime we PCS? If you’re ever unsure, just go by The American Academy of Pediatrics’s guidelines (see beginning of article) to ensure optimal safety for your children. You can also check your car seat manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.


If someone forwarded this article to you, please do not be offended. They’re sharing this life-saving information not to judge you, but because they care about and love your family and want to see them safe. We all do.

WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on 3 Tips for Car Seat Safety in Real Life.

car seat safety state by state

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Katie is an elementary school teacher turned dance-and-yoga-instructor turned stay-at-home-mom to three kids but dreams of being a children's author and illustrator when she grows up. She lives in Southern California (for now, Because: Military) with her strikingly handsome Navy Flight Surgeon husband, who's never too cool for Random Dance Parties. When she isn't hiding from her kids in the laundry room, Katie loves creating art, being sarcastic, tagging friends in ridiculous memes, and going to the gym (but only if childcare is included). Katie openly shares her experiences with conquering Postpartum Depression on her personal blog, "<a href="http://katievanbrunt.com/" rel="noopener">Loyal, Loving, & Learning</a>" in hopes of inspiring others to live their best life.

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