Montana Car Seat Laws (2022) – Rules to Secure A Child Properly

According to the Montana State Law, children under the age of six and weighing less than 60 pounds must be in an appropriate safety restraint for the child’s age and size following the manufacturer’s instructions. 

What is the car seat law in Montana?

Montana Legislature Law in Section 61-9-420. (1) on Child safety restraint systems reads: "Each motor vehicle passenger who is under 6 years of age and weighs less than 60 pounds must be transported and properly restrained in a child safety restraint. The child safety restraint must be appropriate for the height and weight of the child as indicated by manufacturer standards."

Montana State Law

Montana Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

In Montana Legislature section 61-9-420. (1), the law requires a child should be secured in a child restraint system until the age of 6 and a weight limit of 60 pounds.

No rules on rear-facing seats.

It’s best to interpret this regulation according to expert recommendations: keep using a rear-facing car seat as long as possible until the child reaches the weight or height limit of the car seat.

The infant car seats will be good to ride your child to 12 or 18 months. If you prefer to keep your child facing the back for a longer period of time, for example over 2 years of age, the convertible and all-in-one car seats are available for help.

They are generally designed with higher rear-facing weight or height limits.

Montana Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

The Montana law does not say anything about forward-facing seats. According to the rules and regulations from AAP and NHTSA, a child must ride in a forward-facing seat until they exceed the height or weight limit of rear-facing car seats.

The forward-facing car seats are typically required for toddlers and preschoolers aged between 2 to 5 years old and between 40-80 pounds in weight.

Child Booster Seat Laws in Montana

Although Montana law requires a child restrain system to be used until age 6, it’s not aligned with the safest practices. 

When a child outgrows the forward-facing car seat, they should travel in a booster seat until the age of 8 and 4’9″ in height.

Seat Belt Laws for Child in Montana

The Montana law is not clear on the requirements for a child to use a seat belt.

It’s best to stick to the booster seat until the child outgrows their booster seats or when he or she is big enough and ready to wear a seat belt like an adult.

The Montana Department of Transportation quotes the rules from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and recommends graduating the child from a booster seat to a lap and shoulder belt when they are at least 4’9” tall, which is about eight years or older.

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Montana

Failure to properly restrain a child violates the Montana law and results in a fine of up to $100.

Montana Car Seat Laws Apply for

Drivers are responsible for keeping a child secured properly.

The rule in section 61-9-420. (1) tells an exception. If the child can not be placed in child safety restraint for a physical or medical reason, the driver shall be considered violating the rule.

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

How old does a child have to be to sit in the front seat in Montana?

The law does not state the age or weight requirement for a child to sit in the front seat in Montana.

However, according to child safety experts, a child should be at least 13 years old to sit in the front seat. That’s the common age allowed to sit in the front seat in-laws of most US states.

Taxi Car Seat Law in Montana

Laws in Montana are not clear if the taxis should follow child restraint laws.

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in Montana Law

Six years old and 60 pounds in weight are the two factors stated in Montana car seat laws. At this point, Montana is not one of those states with strict age, weight, and height requirements on child car seats.

However, it’s STRONGLY recommended to follow those suggestions and tips from the AAP and NHTSA experts to ride your child safely through four car seat stages.

  • Rear-facing (stage 1): birth to 2 years or older
  • Forward-facing (stage 2): 2-5 or 6 years of age
  • Booster (stage 3): 4-8 years old, at least 40 pounds, under 4’9″
  • Seat belt (stage 4): 8 years or older, higher than 4 feet 9 inches

Best Car Seats to Work with Montana 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 Mississippi State Law to ride older children, six or seven years old, or even bigger.

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