According to Indiana State Law, children under 16 years of age should be secured properly in a child restraint system or seat belt following the car seat and motor vehicle manufacturer’s instructions.
What is the Car Seat Law in Indiana?
Indiana Car Seat Laws Rear-Facing
Indiana Legislatures only make the rules to require a child to use a child restraint system until age 8. The law does not talk about rear-facing requirements.
Based on the child safety experts’ suggestions, it’s best for children under 2 years of age to ride in a rear-facing car seat.
It’s recommended to keep a child rear-facing for as long as possible until they are within the highest weight or height limit set by the car seat manufacturer.
Some car seats are coming with a 50 lbs rear-facing weight limit (Graco Extend2Fit and Diono Radian 3R) or a 43-inch rear-facing height limit (Chicco NextFit Zip).
Indiana Forward Facing Car Seat Laws
When can a baby be forward-facing in Indiana?
In Indiana, the Legislature regulations do not say a word on forward-facing car seats.
For this case, you can follow the rules from NHTSA on the second car seat stage – use a forward-facing car seat when the child reaches the highest weight or height given by the manufacturer.
According to Indiana State Police, you should use a forward-facing seat until your child is at least 40 pounds.
The car seat should be federally approved with a harness system.
What is The Law for Booster Seats in Indiana?
According to Indiana law IC 9-19-11-2 on Child restraint systems, Sec. 2. (a), all children under the age of eight must travel in a proper restraint system that is suitable for their height and weight.
After a child outgrows the forward-facing car seat, they can use a booster seat when they are at least 40 pounds.
It’s a common rule that 40-pounds is the minimum weight requirement for a booster seat on the market.
However, the best practice is to keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible until they reach the highest height or weight limit.
That typically happens around age 5-6.
Seat Belt Laws for Child in Indiana
In the IC 9-19-11-3.6 Sec. 3.6. (a) stated in Indiana law, children who outgrow their booster seat or are at least 8 years old can use the vehicle seat belt until they are 16 years old.
The child car seat law for seat belt perfectly answer this frequently asked question – when can a child get out of a car seat in Indiana?
The child should be at least 8 years of age to use the vehicle seat belt, not a car seat.
When can a child sit in the front seat in Indiana?
The law does not mention the age or weight requirements for a child to sit in the front seat.
However, child safety experts recommend that your child should travel in the back seat until the age of 13.
The back seat is the safest place for your child and tries to keep them there for as long as possible.
Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Indiana
Violating the Indiana car seat law to secure a child properly will result in a maximum fine of $25 and court costs.
Indiana Car Seat Laws Apply for
The drivers are responsible for ensuring the child’s safety in the motor vehicle, except below cases.
- (1) A bus.
- (2) A taxicab.
- (3) A medical services vehicle.
Typically, the car seat should be secured with a lap-shoulder belt system for protection. But exceptions are allowed for a child who weighs more than 40 pounds to be secured in a lap-only belt if:
- (1) the motor vehicle is not equipped with lap and shoulder safety belts; or
- (2) all the lap and shoulder safety belts are being used to properly restrain other children who are less than sixteen (16) years of age.
Taxi Car Seat Law in Indiana
The Indiana law makes it clear in IC 9-19-11-1 Sec. 1 with rules that:
Taxis are not required to follow the Indiana child restraint laws.
Age, Weight, Height Requirements in Indiana Laws
It’s not as strict as the regulations of NHTSA that recommend riding a child through four stages.
Rear-facing (stage 1): under 1-year-old, less than 20 pounds
Forward-facing (stage 2) and booster (stage 3): under 8 years old
Seat belt (stage 4): 8 years or older
Best Car Seats to Work with Indiana Laws
Based on the Indiana child car seat laws, here are the best car seats that will ride your boys or girls safely without breaking the rules.
To help parents quickly find the best option based on your child’s current age, this list is made by age.
Birth - 2 Years
30-lb rear-facing maximum weight
35-lb rear-facing maximum weight
40-lb rear-facing maximum weight
50-lb rear-facing maximum weight
Birth - 4 Years
65-lb forward-facing maximum weight
49-inch forward-facing maximum height
100-lb booster maximum weight
120-lb booster maximum weight
57-in booster maximum height
63-in booster maximum height
- Best to Fit 3 Across – Diono Radian 3R
- Best with backless booster – Graco 4Ever DLX
The Diono Cambria 2 XL combines a highback and backless booster into one. It provides spacious room for growing big kids.
Diono Cambria 2 XL
Car Seats with Unique Functions
Car seat with 5-point harness
- Britax One4Life (120 lbs/ 63”)