Keeping your child safe while driving is every parent’s top priority. With car accidents being one of the leading causes of death in young children, it is important to know the car seat laws in your state to ensure they are properly buckled up. Here are the Indiana Car Seat Laws you need to know for 2023.
Indiana Infant/Toddler Car Seat Law
All children under the age of 1 and weighing less than 20 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing car seat. Children ages 1-3 and weighing up to 40 pounds must also be secured in a rear-facing car seat until they exceed the manufacturer’s recommended weight limit for the seat.
Indiana Rear-facing Car Seat Law
Indiana law requires that all children under the age of 2 and weighing less than 30 pounds be restrained in a rear-facing car seat. It is recommended that children remain in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible until they reach the maximum weight or height limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
Indiana Forward-facing Car Seat Law
Children who have outgrown their rear-facing car seat with a harness should switch to a forward-facing car seat with a harness. Indiana law requires children to be restrained in a forward-facing car seat until they are at least 4 years old and weigh at least 40 pounds. Children should remain in a forward-facing car seat until they reach the maximum weight or height limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
Child Booster Seat Laws in Indiana
Children who have outgrown their forward-facing car seat should move to a booster seat. Indiana law requires children to be restrained in a booster seat until they are 8 years old, or reach the height of 4 feet 9 inches. A seat belt should be used with a booster seat and fit properly across the child’s lap and chest.
Leaving Child in Car Law in Indiana
Indiana law strictly prohibits leaving a child unattended in a car, regardless of the outside temperature or time of day. It is a Class B misdemeanor offense and can result in fines and possible jail time. Children should never be left alone in a car, even for a short period of time.
Indiana Seat Belts Law
Indiana seat belt law is a primary enforcement law, which means a police officer can pull you over and issue a citation if they see you or any of your passengers not wearing a seat belt. The law applies to passengers in the front seat of a motor vehicle and to all passengers under the age of 18. Drivers are responsible for making sure all passengers are buckled up.
Taxi Car Seat Law in Indiana
Indiana law does not require taxi drivers to provide car seats for children. However, parents are responsible for ensuring their child is properly restrained, so it is recommended that parents bring their own car seat or booster seat when riding in a taxi with their child.
The Laws According to Your Child’s Size and Age
1. Children who are not yet one year old and who weigh less than 20 pounds
According to the laws, infants who are not yet one year old and weigh less than 20 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing car seat. This is because their necks and spines are not strong enough to withstand the force of a collision. In a rear-facing car seat, the force of the impact is spread over the entire back of the seat, which helps to protect the baby’s head, neck, and spine.
2. Children who are at least one year old and who weigh at least 20 pounds
Once the child reaches one year of age and weighs at least 20 pounds, they may be placed in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. The harness should fit snugly across the child’s shoulders and hips to keep them secure in the event of a collision.
3. Children weighing at least 30 pounds
When a child reaches 30 pounds, they may be placed in a booster seat. A booster seat helps to position the child properly so that the seat belt fits across their lap and chest properly. This helps to prevent injuries in the event of a collision.
4. Beginning at eight years of age
When the child reaches eight years of age, the law usually allows them to use a seat belt without a booster seat. However, it is important to ensure that the seat belt fits properly. The lap belt should fit across the child’s hips, not their stomach, and the shoulder belt should fit snugly across the collarbone and chest, not across the neck or face. It is recommended that children continue to ride in the back seat until they are at least 12 years old.
Car Seat Exemptions in Indiana
Certain exemptions apply to Indiana’s car seat laws, including for public transportation and emergency vehicles. Additionally, if a child has a medical condition that makes it unsafe to use a car seat, a written statement from a physician must be kept in the vehicle as proof of the exemption.
Car Seat Penalties in Indiana
In Indiana, failure to properly secure children in car seats can result in penalties, such as fines and points added to the driver’s license. The penalty for violating the state’s car seat law is a Class D traffic infraction, which can result in a fine of up to $500. Parents also may be required to attend a child passenger safety course.
When Can Kids Ride In the Front Seat In Indiana?
According to Indiana law, children must be at least 8 years old and at least 4 feet 9 inches tall to ride in the front seat of a vehicle. However, it is recommended that children ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.
Is it Illegal to Smoke in a Car with a Child in Indiana?
Yes, it is illegal to smoke in a car with a child under the age of 8 years old in Indiana. The law is meant to protect children from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Where can I get my booster seat checked or installed in Indiana?
Several organizations in Indiana offer free car seat inspections and installations, including the Indiana State Police, Safe Kids Indiana, and local fire and police departments. Parents can also check with their local hospital or health department for resources.
When can a child use a booster seat?
A child can use a booster seat when they have outgrown their forward-facing car seat and have reached the height and weight limits specified by the manufacturer of the booster seat.
When can a kid stop using a booster seat?
A child can stop using a booster seat when they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and have reached the age of 8 years old. However, it is recommended that children continue using a booster seat until they can safely use the vehicle’s seat belt without assistance.
What is the booster seat weight limit?
The weight limit for a booster seat varies depending on the specific model and manufacturer. Parents should always check the weight limit specified by the manufacturer of their child’s booster seat.
How to Install Child Car Seats?
To install a child car seat, parents should first read both the car seat instruction manual and the vehicle owner’s manual. They should then secure the car seat tightly using either the vehicle’s LATCH system or the seat belt. The harness straps should be adjusted to fit snugly around the child, and the chest clip should be positioned at the child’s armpit level. The car seat should be checked for tightness and proper installation using the “inch test” and the “pinch test.”
Following Indiana’s car seat laws can help prevent injuries or fatalities in the event of a car crash. It is crucial to remember that the laws are in place to protect your child, and failure to comply can result in fines and legal repercussions. Keep in mind the age, weight, and height requirements for each car seat type, and always make sure your child is properly restrained, no matter how short the trip may be.