Car Seat Laws in the United States

Gone are the days where you could simply hold your baby whilst driving.  Although this was by no means the safest way for baby to travel, it did make things simple. Nowadays, the restrictions are getting tighter and tighter, to the extent of dictating which direction the car seat needs to face when securely placed in your vehicle. In the US, each state has their own power to make laws in regards to how car seats are placed and what type of seat is necessary.

In every state it is necessary to use a child car seat for infants. For older children, a criteria usually exists which takes into consideration the height and weight of the child to determine where a car seat is necessary, and further to this, what type of car seat. Laws that apply in the states of Wyoming and Tennessee can be used as a guide when looking at car seat laws overall, as these states are generally known to have stricter laws. In Wyoming, it is required that all children under the age of 9 ride in an appropriate car/booster seat depending on the child’s height and weight. It is a requirement that this seat be placed in the rear seat of the car where possible.

For children in Tennessee from the ages of 4 to 8, a booster seat is required where the child is less than 4 ft. 9. The booster seat used must have an appropriate belt position for the child. Where the child is outside of these parameters, adult seat belt laws apply. For infants, Tennessee law dictates which way the car seat must be faced. For baby’s under 1 year old, or where the child is less than 20lb, a rear facing approved car seat is required. For babies from ages 1 to 3, or weighing over 20lb, the approved car seat used must be front facing.  To read more about these restrictions, go to

The main thing to establishment in following car seat laws is the type of seat required for your child (if at all).  As laws differ from state to state, it would be wise to look at exact laws for your state when you look into placing your car seat. To find out whether your car seat is approved, it is required that you either email your local DMV, or make an appointment to have the safety of your car seat checked.