It is no secret that car seats are essential for protection while driving with young children. All 50 states have laws in place requiring their use, but the specifics of these laws vary from state to state. In Indiana, there are specific requirements that must be followed in order to ensure your child’s safety while traveling in a vehicle. Here is what you need to know about the Indiana car seat law.

Indiana car seat law

Indiana Car Seat Laws

According to the law,

“A person who operates a motor vehicle in which there is a child less than eight (8) years of age who is not properly fastened and restrained according to the child restraint system manufacturer’s instructions by a child restraint system commits a Class D infraction.”

Indiana car seat law

Types of restraint systems for infant and young kids in Indiana

There are three types of restraint systems for kids in Indiana.

  • Rear-facing car seats
  • Forward-facing car seats
  • Booster seats

Indiana Rear-facing Car Seat Law

All children under 1 year old who weigh less than 20 pounds must ride in a rear-facing car seat. However, you aren’t restricted to keeping your kid in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible. This type of seat can currently support children weighing up to 30-35 pounds. This means that as your child gets closer to 4 years old, he or she may already surpass the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.

Indiana Forward-facing Car Seat Law

Children who are 1 year or older and weigh at least 20 pounds can ride on a forward-facing car seat. According to the Indiana State Police, you should use a forward-facing seat until your child is at least 40 pounds in weight. The car seat should include a harness system that has been certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Indiana booster seat law for young kids

Under Indiana law, a child who weighs at least 30 pounds is entitled to use a booster seat. The Indiana government tells parents to keep their children in a forward-facing seat as long as they are under 40 pounds.

Types of booster seats:

  • High-back booster seats – If your car’s seat back is lower than your child’s ears, you have to use a high-back booster seat to protect your child’s head and neck.
  • Backless booster seats – If your car’s seat back is higher than your child’s ears, you can use a backless booster seat.

Requirements for children to use the front seat in Indiana

In the car seat law in Indiana, there is no mention of anything about front-seat requirements.

However, most professionals believe that the safest place for children in a vehicle is the back seat, and they should only sit in the front when they are 13 years old or older. Also, according to Indiana Criminal Justice Institute recommendations, children should only use a seat belt if their size allows them to do so. This generally happens at a height of 4’9,” and it entails having the shoulder strap lay comfortably across the chest while also crossing the upper thighs.

Taxi Car Seat Law in Indiana

As the law does not require that taxis have safety systems for children, it makes them seem unsafe. But what can parents do to solve this problem? You may look for many rent-a-car firms that will supply you with the right vehicles and child safety seats.  Another alternative is to seek help from rent-a-seat businesses to discover and send you the appropriate car seats. Check which firms can assist you before your journeys so that you are confident that your children will be safe during the journey.

Indiana car seat expiration law

The state of Indiana has no specific law for the expiration date of car seats. The only thing that is required is to make sure that your child’s car seat has a label on it stating the manufacturer and date of manufacture. It’s not safe to use an expired car seat for your kid, so avoid doing it. Some state legislatures have passed laws that govern the usage of expired vehicle seats.

Parents should double-check the expiration date before using a seat and store it safely if necessary. When it comes time to dispose of old car seats, you should cut the fabric and harness away. Wrap it in a black garbage bag before throwing it away.

Indiana car seat replacement law after Accident

Indiana has no clear law on car seat replacement if you get in an accident. The NHTSA strongly advises, following a moderate or severe accident, car seats should be replaced to assure the same level of protection for child passengers. Car seats do not need to be replaced automatically after every minor accident.

Law on leaving a child in a car in Indiana

Indiana has no laws about leaving children in the car. However, you should not leave children alone because you may never know what unforeseen injuries or incidents could arise.

Legal Fees For Indiana Car Seat Laws

Violating the Indiana child restrain law is a class D infraction. A conviction will result in court costs and a maximum fine of $25 but will not lead to license demerit points.

By obtaining and putting in a suitable kid seat within 30 days after being convicted, a convicted person may avoid paying fines and fees. For the benefit of persons with prior convictions, this rule does not apply.

Car Seat Law Exemptions in Indiana

Certain vehicles such as school buses, taxis, and medical vehicles cannot be restrained. But the normal requirements do apply to Lyft and Uber drivers. If a child can not use a restraint system because of a physical or medical condition, he or she may be eligible for an exemption. Such exemptions must be accompanied by written doctor’s documentation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Indiana Car Seat Laws

When Can My Child Sit in the Front Seat in Indiana?

In the car seat law in Indiana, there is no mention of anything about front-seat requirements. According to experts, a child should ride in the back seat until they are 13 years old. The back seat is the most secure location for your kid and will do everything possible to keep them there as long as feasible.

What are the height and weight requirements for a booster seat in Indiana?

According to Indiana state troopers, it’s fine for kids under the age of three to use a booster seat once they weigh 30 pounds. It’s best to wait until your kid weighs 40 pounds, whether he or she is tall or short. Indiana law demands that children ride in an appropriate safety harness until they are 8 years old, regardless of height or weight.

When can a child stop using a booster seat in Indiana?

When your child is eight years old or older and the seat belt’s shoulder strap fits comfortably, they can stop using booster seats. but it’s always safer to use a booster seat until your child is 12 years old.

Can a 10 year old sit in the front seat in Indiana?

There is no mention of front-seat requirements in the Indiana car seat law. However, most experts believe that children should sit in the back seat and only in the front when they are 13 years old or older.

Can My Child Ride in the Front Seat of a Pickup Truck in Indiana?

There is no law in Indiana that says you can’t smoke when there are children in the car. but Indiana is trying to make it illegal for people to smoke in cars with children as passengers.

Car Seat Inspections Help in Indiana

Child passenger safety related videos Indiana

Simple Steps to Rear-facing Car Seat Safety

Forward-Facing Car Seat Safety Tips

How to Use a Booster Seat

More information and resources

USA Child Passenger Safety Laws by State


Click on your state on the map below to see your state’s car seat law

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