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

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 Legislature Laws IC 9-19-11-2 on Child restraint systems, Sec. 2. (a) reads: “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.” "IC 9-19-11-3.6 Sec. 3.6. (a) requires a child who is at least 8 years of age but less than 16 years old should be properly restrained in a child restraint system or safety belt according to the manufacturer's instructions."

Indiana State Regulations

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. 

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.

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.

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

Eight years of age, 16 years old and 40 pounds are the only age and weight requirements in Indiana law.

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

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 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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