Minnesota is one of the most progressive states when it comes to car seat safety laws. This article will tell you about the Minnesota car seat laws, including which type of child restraint is allowed in a car, how to keep your child safe, and where can you find the laws.

Minnesota Car Seat Law

Minnesota Car Seat Laws

According to the child restraint law of Minnesota,

“Every motor vehicle operator, when transporting a child who is both under the age of eight and shorter than four feet nine inches on the streets and highways of this state in a motor vehicle equipped with factory-installed seat belts, shall equip and install for use in the motor vehicle, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, a child passenger restraint system meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.”

Minnesota Car Seat Laws

Minnesota Rear-facing Car Seat Law

According to Minnesota car seat law, all children must be in a child restraint (with 5 point harness) until they are 4’9″ tall or age 8, whichever comes first.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety recommends that newborns up to two years old use a rear-facing car seat. It’s best to keep your child in the back seat as long as possible.

Minnesota Forward-facing Car Seat Law

According to Minnesota law, there is no requirement for a forward-facing car seat. According to the Office of Traffic Safety, children may ride in a front-facing car seat once they have outgrown their rear-facing seats. Toddlers should be kept in a rear-facing seat at all times. A rear-facing car seat can usually be used until a child is 4 years old, but check with the manufacturer’s weight and height restrictions to see if you should keep using the rear-facing seat.

Minnesota booster seat law for young kids

Children who have outgrown the forward-facing seats and are younger than 8 years old or shorter than 4’9″ tall must use federally acceptable booster seats by law.

A booster seat raises a child so that adult seat belts fit properly. A good belt fit ensures that the lap portion of the belt is low and tight over the upper thighs, while the shoulder section should comfortably rest across the chest. If your child is tall enough to sit comfortably in the vehicle without a headrest, but the car doesn’t have one, you may use a high back booster to protect him from neck problems.

Booster seats should be secured with lap-shoulder belts (lap-only belts are not advised) and placed in the rear of the vehicle.

There are 2 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 Minnesota 

There are no Minnesota laws regulating the use of front seats by children. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that children under the age of 13 should not ride in the front seat until they reach this age.

This is in line with most authorities, who believe that the rear-facing safety seat is generally safer and does not have adult airbags. Because airbags deploy with a lot of force, placing a kid in front of one might be deadly.

If you are confused about which restraint system does your child need, this simple test will make it clear to you whether your child needs to use a booster seat or just a seat belt.

The Five Step Seat Belt Fit Test:

  1. Is the child able to sit all of the way back against the auto seat?
  2. Are the child’s knees able to bend comfortably at the edge of the vehicle seat?
  3. Is the belt crossing over the shoulder between the neck and arm?
  4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, with the thighs?
  5. Is it possible for the child to remain in this position the whole journey?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, your kid requires a booster seat to travel safely in the car. Boosters are popular with kids since they are more comfortable!

Taxi Car Seat Law in Minnesota 

Taxis are not required to follow Minnesota Child Restraint laws.

However, it is suggested that you bring one along and keep your child secure during the trip in a car. The driver, cannot prevent you from using a child protection system. 

Minnesota car seat replacement law after Accident

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, you should never use a seat that has been involved in an accident. Regardless of the condition, the seat should be destroyed.

However, “NHTSA recommends that car seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers. Car seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash.”

Law on leaving a child in a car in Minnesota 

There are no laws in Georgia restricting parents from leaving children unattended in a vehicle seat. Depending on the state in which you reside, it is possible that leaving your kid unattended inside a car could be considered reckless behavior under various laws. We advise that you never leave your child alone in the vehicle for any length of time, regardless of where you live.

Penalties for Violating Minnesota Car Seat Laws

If you break Minnesota’s child passenger restraint system laws, you may be charged with a minor misdemeanor and fined up to $50.00, which might be waived or reduced if you can show that you purchased or obtained a child passenger restraint device that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards for your personal use within fourteen days of the incident. You may not be held responsible if you submit a doctor’s statement to the court or the arresting officer excusing your kid.

You may be fined $25.00 for each occurrence of not securing a kid under the age of eight in a seat belt if you drive a motor vehicle in Minnesota. For multiple infractions, you can only be charged one surcharge. If your child is between the ages of fifteen and seventeen and fails to strap himself or herself into a seat belt.

Is it Illegal to Smoke in a Car with a Child in Minnesota?

It is not illegal to smoke inside a private vehicle, regardless of whether child passengers are present. We do not recommend that you smoke inside your vehicle with children present.

Child passenger safety-related videos Minnesota 

Car Seat Safety By Age

Installing a Rear-facing Car Safety Seat

Live Q&A: Safety tips for car seats and booster seats

Is your child’s car booster seat safe?

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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