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Iowa Car Seat Laws in 2021


In Iowa law, when being transported in a motor vehicle subject to registration, a child under one year old and weighing less than twenty pounds must be secured in a rear-facing child restraint system. A child under one year old and weighing more than twenty pounds must be secured in a child restraint system used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

A child between the ages of one and five years old must be secured in a child restraint system used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

And a child between the ages of six and seventeen years old must be secured in a child restraint system used according to the manufacturer’s instructions or by an approved safety belt or safety harness. 

A child restraint system is a specially designed seating system, such as a car seat, booster seat, or belt-positioning seat, meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.

Babies and Children Up to One Year Old

A child under one year old and weighing less than twenty pounds must be secured in a rear-facing child restraint system used according to manufacturer’s instructions when being transported in a motor vehicle subject to registration. A child under one year old and weighing twenty pounds or more must be secured in a child restraint system used according to the manufacturer’s instructions when being transported in a motor vehicle subject to registration.

Children One to Five Years Old

A child between the ages of one and five years old must be secured in a child restraint system used according to the manufacturer’s instructions when being transported in a motor vehicle subject to registration.

Children Six to Seventeen Years Old

A child between the ages of six and seventeen years old must be secured in a child restraint system used according to the manufacturer’s instructions or by an approved safety belt or safety harness when being transported in a motor vehicle subject to registration.

Penalties for Violations

A violation of Iowa’s Child Restraint Devices law is a simple misdemeanor. A violation of the safety belt or safety harness provision of the law is punishable by a fine of $50.00. A violation of the child restraint system provision of the law is punishable by a fine of $100.00.

For a first violation of the child restraint system provision of the law, you may not be convicted if you are able to prove to the court within a reasonable time that you have purchased or acquired a child restraint system meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.

If you are operating a motor vehicle and transporting a passenger under fourteen years old or a passenger fourteen years old or older who is unable to properly fasten his or her seatbelt due to a temporary or permanent disability, you may be charged with a violation. If you are transporting a passenger fourteen years old or older without a disability who is in violation of the safety belt or safety harness provision, the passenger may be charged with a violation.

If you are traveling with your child in a taxicab or in a personal vehicle operated by a transportation network company driver in violation of the child restraint system provision or the safety belt or safety harness provision of the law, you may be charged with a violation. If you are not traveling with your child, the operator of the taxicab or the personal vehicle operated by a transportation network company driver may be charged with a violation.

Exemptions

Your child may be exempt from being secured in a child restraint system used according to the manufacturer’s instructions or by an approved safety belt or safety harness if he or she is being transported in a school bus or on a motorcycle.

Your child may be exempt from being secured in a child restraint system used according to the manufacturer’s instructions or by an approved safety belt or safety harness: if he or she is being transported by a peace office acting on official duty; if he or she is being transported in a 1965 model year or older motor vehicle, an authorized emergency vehicle, or a bus; if he or she is being transported in a motor home or a motorsports recreational vehicle and he or she is not seated in the front passenger seat. 

If a licensed physician has certified your child as having a medical, physical, or mental condition that prevents or makes the use of a child restraint system, safety belt, or safety harness inadvisable; or if he or she is seated in the back seat of a motor vehicle and no safety belt is available because all safety belts are being used by other occupants, or because a child restraint system is in the seating position for which a belt is provided

* Ms. Blake is licensed in the state of Maryland. The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Attorney Denise A. Blake*
Attorney Denise A. Blake*

Denise practices family law at Blake Law, LLC in Westminster, Maryland. She holds a Juris Doctor with an emphasis in Family Law from the University of Baltimore School of Law.