Law: What does Minnesota law say about how children should be buckled in?
Exceptions to the law
Minnesota's Child Passenger Restraint Law
Minnesota Statute 169.685
- Changes to Minnesota Law: Effective July 1, 2009, a child who is both under age 8 and shorter than 4 feet 9 inches is required to be fastened in a child safety seat that meets federal safety standards. Under this law, a child cannot use a seat belt alone until they are age 8, or 4 feet 9 inches tall. It is recommended to keep a child in a booster based on their height rather than their age. (Check the instruction book or label of the child safety seat to be sure it is the right seat for your child’s weight and height.)
- Safety seats must be installed and used according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Child must be secured (buckled) in the safety seat.
- Seat must be secured to the vehicle.
- Infants (under 20 pounds and one year of age) must be in a rear-facing safety seat.
- Law applies to all motor vehicles originally built with factory-installed seat belts.
- Law applies to all seating positions — everybody, every seat, every time.
- Driver is responsible.
- Petty misdemeanor fine for violation is $50 (may be waived if violator shows proof of obtaining a safety seat within 14 days).
- Applies to both residents and non-residents of Minnesota.
- Suspected non-use is a valid basis to stop a motor vehicle.
Exceptions to the law
Child Safety Seat Guidlines (brochure)
- Children riding in emergency medical vehicles, when medical needs make use of a restraint unreasonable.
- Children riding in a motor vehicle for hire, including a taxi, airport limousine or bus, but excluding a rented, leased or borrowed motor vehicle.
- Children riding with a peace officer on official duty, when a restraint is not available (a seat belt must be substituted).
- Children certified by a licensed physician as having a medical, physical or mental disability that makes restraint use inadvisable.
Source: Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all infants and toddlers should ride in a Rear-Facing Car Safety Seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat's manufacturer.
- When a child reaches age 4, if they still fit properly in their child car seat, keep using it until your child reaches the seat's upper limit for height and weight.
- If your child is eight years old but shorter than 4'9", continue to use the booster seat.
- Children under the age of 13 should sit in the back seat of a vehicle.
- Put any loose objects in the trunk or secure them. In a crash, loose items can strike with great force and cause serious injury.