For those of us who have children, obviously one of the most important things we think about daily is ensuring our child is 100% secure in our vehicle prior to leaving the driveway. Let's talk about some common sense necessities, as well as some non-negotiable laws regarding child restraint in a motor vehicle.
Let's take a moment to review what Indiana officially has to say about child seats when travelling in a motor vehicle:
Indiana’s Child Restraint Law:
All children under the age of 8 must be properly restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat according to the child restraint system manufacturer’s instructions. Many parents are confused about the law, so troopers want to help explain the proper and legal way to restrain their children.
- Children under the age of one-year and less than 20 lbs. MUST be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat. Many newer seats will restrain a child rear-facing up to 30-35 lbs. Troopers encourage parents to keep their children rear-facing as long as possible.
- Children that are at least one-year old and 20 lbs. may be restrained in a forward-facing child safety seat with an internal harness system.
- Children at least 30 lbs. may use a booster seat, but troopers encourage parents to keep their children restrained in a forward-facing seat until at least 40 lbs.
- Indiana law requires all children under the age of eight to use a child restraint system in accordance with the child restraint system manufacturer’s instruction, which are based upon the child’s height and weight. The child restraint system normally used by children in this age group is the booster seat.
- All children under the age of 16 must be properly restrained either by using a seat belt or a child restraint system, to include a booster seat.
Indiana State Police would like to remind parents and others who transport children the following safety tips:
- Child safety seats must be properly secured to the vehicles seat belt or LATCH system and should not move side to side or forward more than one-inch.
- Children should stay rear-facing until one-year of age and 20 lbs.
- The retainer clip that connects the two shoulder harness straps must be kept at the child’s armpit level.
- Harness straps must be kept snug.
Another interesting aspect to this discussion: after a moderate to severe collision event, any child seat that was involved in the event should not be used again. The driver determined to be at-fault is generally responsible for financially reimbursing for such a seat.
The bottom line: adhere to the law and follow the guidelines from the state, because they are common sense and straight forward. Following these rules ensures that your child is as safe and secure as possible in the event of an accident. This minimizes injury and promotes the safe-keeping of you and your family.