Car Seat Laws for Missouri (2022) -Rules What Parents Need to Know

According to the Missouri State Law, children less than 16 years old must ride in a child restraint system or booster seat or seat belt that is appropriate for the child’s age and size.

What is the car seat law in Missouri?

Missouri Legislature Law in Section 307.179. subsection 2 on child safety reads: “Every driver transporting a child under the age of sixteen years shall be responsible, when transporting such child in a motor vehicle operated by that driver on the streets or highways of this state, for providing for the protection of such child.”

Missouri State Regulations

Missouri Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

According to the regulations in Section 307.179. subsection 2 (1) and (2), the Missouri law requires a child who is under 4 years old or weighing less than 40 pounds to be secured in a child passenger restraint system.

You’ll see no requirements on rear-facing seats. It’s best to interpret the MO law to the experts’ recommendations to keep using a rear-facing car seat for a child under 2 years old until he or she reaches the highest weight or height of the car seat.

Missouri Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

The same rule applies to the forward-facing seats. The Missouri law in section 307.179. subsection 2 does not say anything on this subject.

So the best practice is to follow the suggestions from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA for short) – use a forward-facing car seat once the child reaches the weight or height limit of the rear-facing car seat and stick to the forward-facing car seat as long as possible.

Combining the regulations in section 307.179, the forward-facing car seat can be used until the child is 4 years or older or weighing 40 pounds or more.

Child Booster Seat Laws in Missouri

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

According to the rules in Section 307.179. subsection 2 (3), Missouri booster seat law, effective August 28, 2006, requires children to be secured in a booster seat if they meet below age, weight, or height requirements:

  • at least 4 years of age but less than 8 years; or
  • weigh at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds; or
  • less than 4 feet 9 inches tall.

The booster seat should be installed with the lap and shoulder belt. If this combination is not equipped, then the booster seat may be placed in the back seat with only a lap belt.

Seat Belt Laws for Child in Missouri

When can kids get out of car seats in Missouri?

The Missouri law in Section 307.179. subsection 2 (4) says that children who weigh 80 pounds or more in weight or more than 4 feet 9 inches in height must ride in a safety belt once they reach the height or weight limit of their booster seats.

However, you should always check if the seat belt fits your child properly or not.

1. Can your child sit all the way back against the auto seat?

2. Do your child’s knees bend with ease at the edge of the seat without slouching?

3. Does the lap belt fit snugly across the top of the thighs, not upon the tummy?

4. Does the shoulder belt come across the center of the shoulder and chest?

5. Can your child sit like this for the whole trip?

If you answer “yes” to all of these questions, your child is ready to wear the vehicle seat belt for security like an adult.

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Missouri

The law in section 307.179. subsection 3 makes it clear that a fine of $50 and the court fee is the punishment for not abiding by the MO car seat rules.

Missouri Car Seat Laws Apply for

The drivers should hold the responsibility for making sure the child passenger’s safe in an operating motor vehicle.

Exceptions:

The rules in section 307.179. subsection 4 lists exceptional situations:

  • Any public carrier for hire, like the taxi
  • School bus.

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

How much does a child have to weigh to sit in the front seat in Missouri?

The Missouri law on booster seats indicates two situations on the back seat requirement.

1) A booster seat must be placed in the back seat if there is only a lap belt equipped in the vehicle.

2) The children who are not restrained in a child safety car seat must sit in the back seat if there are more children in the motor vehicle than available seating positions with a child safety restraining device.

You’ll see that no weight requirement in the law to allow a child to sit in the front seat.

Many states laws require you to use back seats for your children for as long as possible. In Missouri, the law is not clear about when a child can sit in the front seat. But the MO law also quoted the NHTSA’s suggestion – children under 12 years should always ride in the back seat.

Taxi Car Seat Law in Missouri

Based on the regulations on section 307.179. subsection 4, taxis are exempt from car seat laws in Missouri.

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in Missouri Law

MO laws seem positive in providing the rules on age, weight, and height requirements, giving a few numbers for reference.

Under 4 years of age or under 40 pounds in weight

Use a child restraint system or device

Booster (stage 3): 4-8 years old, 40-80 pounds, less than 4 feet 9 inches

Seat belt (stage 4): 80 pounds or heavier, 57 inches or taller

Best Car Seats to Work with Missouri 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 Missouri 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 Missouri children to get rid of a car seat.

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