Car Seat Laws
Car seats help keep children safe while they are too small for the built-in restraint system to function properly. State laws on the use of car seats vary but all states require infants and children fitting certain descriptions to ride in one. There are several forms of car seats, the type of which may also be specified by law.
Height, weight and age are used as criteria for car seat laws in the various states. Missouri requires that all children under 4 or less than 40 pounds ride in a car seat. Children 4-7 years old and 40-80 pounds but less than 4 foot 9 inches must ride in a car seat or booster seat. Children between the ages of 4-7 who are either 4 feet 9 inches tall or over 80 pounds may ride using the car’s safety belt system.
Although there is no specific law about which direction infant car seats need to face in Missouri, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that all children under 1 year of age should ride in rear-facing car seats. Other states do have requirements that infants be in rear-facing seats. This is because most car accidents involve a frontal impact, and rear-facing seats cradle the entire body to provide support for the back and neck of the child during these collisions. The NHTSA encourages parents to have their child ride facing the rear until he or she outgrows the car seat, even if this is after the age of 1.
Many conventional rear-facing seats are intended only for small infants. For this reason, convertible car seats that can be transitioned to a forward-facing option are recommended for larger babies. These often have higher size and weight limits than conventional rear-facing seats and allow children to ride in the safer, rear-facing position for longer according to the NHTSA.
Missouri law allows children over the age of 4 and 40 pounds to ride in a booster seat. However, the NHTSA encourages parents to have their children ride in a car seat for as long as possible and transition to a booster only when they have outgrown the manufacturer’s limits. A booster seat should be used by all children until the vehicle safety belt fits properly without it.
The rear seat of a car is the safer position and the NHTSA encourages parents to have their children ride there as long as possible. Most modern vehicles are equipped with warnings that state no child under the age of 12 should ride in the airbag-equipped front passenger seat. However, this is merely an estimation of size and smaller children or preteens should remain in the back longer.
At the Lou Fusz Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealership in O’Fallon, Missouri, vehicles with high safety ratings include the Chrysler 200, the Dodge Avenger and Dodge Journey for sedans, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Patriot for SUVs. Purchasing a vehicle with high safety ratings is important because car seats are only intended to be an added layer of protection beyond that which the vehicle can provide. Thus, the best combination is always using a car seat in a safe vehicle.
This is a compensated post from our friends at Lou Fusz Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealership in O’Fallon, Missouri