Car Seat Laws in Michigan (2022) – What Parents Need to Know

According to the Michigan car seat rules, children under 8 years old should ride with a federally approved child restraint system until they are 57 inches tall.

Traffic crashes are a leading cause of death for children. Children who use a child car seat or booster seat are less likely to be injured than children secured by a seat belt alone.

 

What is the car seat law in Michigan?

Section 257.710d (1) says: “Each driver transporting a child less than 4 years of age in a motor vehicle shall properly secure that child in a child restraint system that meets the standards prescribed in 49 CFR 571.213.”

Michigan State Law

You’ll find that 4 years old is the only age requirement mentioned in the law.  But the Michigan State Police implements the regulations and requires children to be properly buckled in a child restraint system until they are 8 years old or 4-feet-9-inches tall, whichever comes first.

What is considered an appropriate child restraint system?

The State Police also gives the answer – the child restraint system can be either a child seat with harness straps or a booster seat (no-back or high-back). You may choose one type of car seat depending on the child’s current weight and age. The car seat must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s and vehicle manufacturer’s instructions and applicable federal standards.

Michigan Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

In Michigan, the law of Sec. 710d. (2) requires children younger than age 4 to ride in a car seat. It doesn’t say the requirements on a rear-facing car seat, just ask the parents to place the car seat in the rear.

The law also states that the rear-facing car seat should not be installed in the front seat unless the airbag is turned off.

The state of Michigan car seat law is the minimum but not the safest. It’s better to follow the NHTSA’s car seat guidelines and child safety experts’ suggestion – travel infants and toddlers in a rear-facing as long as possible until they are two years old or they reach the top weight or height limit of their car seats.

Michigan Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

The Michigan law does not mention age, weight, or height requirements on forward-facing car seats either.

It just requires a child should travel in an appropriate child restraint system until 4 years of age.

According to the child safety experts, the appropriate system will be a forward-facing car seat when the child reaches the rear-facing car seat weight or height limit.

Check the best forward-facing car seat option for Michigan drivers.

Child Booster Seat Laws in Michigan

What is the weight requirement for a booster seat in Michigan?

Michigan law does not mention booster seat weight, height, or age requirements either. The Michigan State Police and Secretary of State implement the rules that children must ride in a booster seat until the eighth birthday or reach 4 feet 9 inches in height.

Seat Belt Laws for Child in Michigan

The Michigan car seat rules do not say about seat belt usage for children. But it’s a common rule that a child can use the vehicle seat belt when they outgrow the booster seat and are big enough to wear a seat belt for security, just like an adult.

You can check if the seat belt fits your child properly in five steps:

1. Check if the shoulder belt crosses between your child’s neck and shoulder. 
2. Check if your child’s lower back is against the vehicle seat.
3. Check if the lap belt stays on the upper thighs across the hip bones.
4. Check if the knees bend at the end of the seat. 
5 Check if the child can ride comfortably for the entire ride.

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Michigan

Failure to properly secure a child under 4 years of age will be fined $10 for the first offense.

The fine goes up to $25 for violation of the law regarding children ages 4-8 and under 4’9″.

The penalty is not a big deal but as a good parent, you should always keep your child’s safety in mind and secure them properly in the car by following the laws and best practices.

Michigan Car Seat Laws Apply for

The drivers have the responsibility to ensure the child passenger’s safety in the car.

Exceptions:

This Michigan car seat law does not apply for these motor vehicles: bus, school bus, taxicab, moped, motorcycle, or other motor vehicles not required to be equipped with safety belts under federal law or regulations.

When can a child sit in the front seat in Michigan?

According to the Michigan Law Sec. 710d, children younger than age 4 can ride in a car seat in the front seat if all available rear seats are occupied by other children under 4.

Interpreting the Michigan Law Sec. 710e, children older than 4 years old are not required to sit in the rear seat and can have a seat in the front seat.

However, it’s not the safest practice. Child safety experts suggest placing a child who is at least 12 years old in the front seat of the car.

Taxi Car Seat Law in Michigan

Taxis are exempt to follow the Michigan law for the child’s safety.

The parents or guardians are responsible for the little passenger’s safety in the car.

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in Michigan Law

The Michigan car seat laws are not as strict as other states on age, weight, and height requirements, but just give details as below:

Less than 4 years of age
Secure with a child restraint system in the rear seat

4 years of age or older but less than 8 years of age and less than 4 feet 9 inches
Secure with a child restraint system

8 to 16 years old
Use a seat belt

Best Car Seats to Work with Michigan Laws

Rear-Facing Car Seat for Infants and Small Toddlers

Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller

Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller Combo

More than this Doona car seat and stroller combo, there are a few excellent options available for riding infants in rear-facing. But not all will perform as well as it to allow 1-year-old infants to face the back for this long time, Chicco KeyFit 30 for example, features a low 30-lb weight limit that might not go through the first year. 

Forward-Facing for Big Toddlers and Preschoolers

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit

This convertible car seat is great enough to meet the parent’s need to ride their kids in the rear- and front-facing for a longer time. It features 50-lb rear-facing weight limit to be one of the best rear-facing car seats for 2 years old.

When using it facing front, the 65-lb weight limit makes it go through the preschool ages – 3 years old, 4 years old, and 5 years old.

Booster Seats for Big Kids

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

$24.99*

The Graco TurboBooster is the most popular and best budget car seat to meet the Michigan State Law to ride older children, six or seven years old, or even bigger. While six years of age is relatively younger than other states’ eight years of age requirement, it’s sooner for Alabama children to get rid of a car seat.

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