Missouri car seat laws are the relevant legislations that provide the requirements for child safety seats when children are passengers in a motor vehicle in Missouri.
Driving a vehicle allows us to be more efficient while also enjoying the convenience it affords. But for reasons bordering on safety and order, laws exists in each jurisdiction that drivers must adhere to.
The Missouri car seat laws are designed to ensure that children, who are the most vulnerable in case of a crash, are given the needed protection while aboard a vehicle. Read on to know what the law says.
Missouri car seat laws 2023
The Missouri child safety and booster seat laws provide the appropriate age, weight and height at which a child passenger should either be in a child safety/booster seat or be exempted from that requirement.
The Missouri Child Restraint Law (RSMo 307.179) is the relevant law which provides the Missouri car seat and Booster seat guidelines. The law requires that:
Children below 4-years
If a child passenger is less than 4 years old or has a weight that is less than 40 pounds, he/she is required to be in an appropriate child safety seat.
Children 4-7 years old
Child passengers of age 4 to 7 and weighing a minimum of 40 pounds must be in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat except children who are of weight equal to or exceeding 80 pounds or of height equal to or exceeding 4’9″.
Children 8 years and above
Children of age 8 and above or weighing at least 80 pounds or at least 4’9” tall are required to be secured by a safety belt or buckled into an appropriate booster seat according to the Missouri child seat laws.
Transporting multiple children in the immediate family
If you’re transporting children in the immediate family and there are more children than there are seating positions in the car, the children who are not able to be restrained by a child safety appropriate for the child, shall sit in the area behind the front seat of the motor vehicle. The exception is in cases where the vehicle is designed only for a front seat area.
The driver will not be deemed to be in violation of the Missouri car seat laws in such a circumstance.
New Missouri car seat laws coming
The Missouri House and Senate have both voted to introduce new car seat rules. The Missouri House Bill 2199 will see the rear-facing safety seats become mandatory until a child is 2 years or meet the relevant weight and height limits. The bill is yet to come into force.
Missouri car seat laws rear facing
The existing Missouri car seat laws does not categorically state that child passengers must be in rear-facing booster or child safety seats. As such, it is recommended that parents follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations on age for rear facing child seats.
In general, it is advisable that child passenger’s safety seats are rear-facing until the allowable age or weight limit is reached. In the case of the Missouri car seat laws, up to 4 years of age or a weight of 40 pounds.
According a study, rear-facing child seats offers the most safety and protection for the head and neck of the child in the event of a crash.
Weight and height to sit in front seat Missouri
While the Missouri car seat laws doesn’t explicitly state the age, weight or height at which a child can be in the front seat, it must be noted that the front seat is not the safest place for a child passenger.
However, it can be deduced that child passengers of age 8 years and above or of weight 80 pounds and minimum height of 4’9″, can be in the front seat since they’re not required to be in a child safety seat or booster seat. They must be properly secured by a safety belt or an appropriate booster seat if required.
In instances such as driving multiple children, allowing a child meeting the requirements to sit in the front seat may be your only option. In such case, you can allow a child to sit in the front seat since it won’t be a violation.
Unless it is really necessary, children below 13 years, must always sit in the back seat and properly buckled since the backseat remains the safest seating for child passengers in a vehicle.
Missouri booster seat laws
Booster seats are typically used as safety seating for child passengers aged above 4 years until such a time they can safely sit in the car seat and use the onboard restraint system (Seat Belts).
According to Missouri booster seat laws and guidelines, booster seats can be used for children who are of age 4 to 7 and weigh a minimum of 40 pounds. Booster seats fits with car seatbelt and helps elevate the child to ensure they’re properly restrained by the seatbelt since they’re not big enough.
Booster seats provide safety and comfort for children who have outgrown a child safety seat but not old or big enough to use the car seat belt directly.
Missouri Seat Belt Law for Children
Seat belts provide restraint for drivers and passengers, which can be the difference between life and death during a crash. Children, no less, are required to be buckled in appropriately when traveling in a vehicle.
The Missouri car seat laws state that child passengers who are 4-7 years of age and weights at least 40 pounds must be appropriately buckled in a booster seat. Child passengers of age 8 and above must be secured by a seat belt.
The exception, however, is a child who is 4 years or older and traveling in a public transport for hire or in a school bus with 11 or more passengers, which meets the Missouri standards for school buses.
Can a car seat go in the front seat?
No. All child safety seats must be in the back seat. This provides the most protection for child passengers in case of an accident.
Penalty for violating Missouri seat belt laws
Breaching the Missouri car seat laws and failing to buckle up does not only put your child in danger, you can face penalties if accosted. For a breach of the law, you can be fined $50. If a child isn’t properly secured by a seat belt, the driver will face a fine of $10.
You can always choose to defend a charge by heading to traffic court and providing proof you used the required child safety seating according to the Missouri car seat laws. If you choose this option, don’t bank your hopes on the cops not showing up for traffic court.
Every parent must be extremely concerned with the safety of their child and take measures to minimize risk of injury to them while carrying them in a vehicle. The Missouri car seat laws provides the legal requirements Missouri drivers must meet when a child is aboard a vehicle they’re operating.
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