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Missouri Car Seat Laws in 2020


By: Attorney Denise A. Blake*

In Missouri law, a driver in actual physical control of a motor vehicle transporting a child under sixteen years old in a motor vehicle operated on the state’s streets or highways must protect that child by securing him or her in a properly adjusted and fastened child passenger restraint system, booster seat, or vehicle safety belt which is appropriate for that child. A driver transporting a child at least sixteen years old must secure that child in a properly adjusted and fastened vehicle safety belt.

Babies and Children Up to Four Years Old

A child under four years old must be secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system, regardless of his or her weight. A child passenger restraint system is a seating system which is either permanently affixed to the motor vehicle or affixed to the motor vehicle by a universal attachment system or vehicle safety belt and which complies with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in 49 C.F.R. 571.213.

Babies and Children Up to Forty Pounds

A child weighing less than forty pounds must be secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system, regardless of his or her age.

Children Four to Seven Years Old

A child between the ages of four and seven years old must be secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system or booster seat if he or she weighs at least forty pounds but less than eighty pounds and if he or she is less than 4’9” in height. A child booster seat is a seating system which is designed to properly elevate a child to sit in a federally approved vehicle safety belt system and which meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in 49 C.F.R. 571.213.

Children At Least Eighty Pounds in Weight and 4’9” in Height

A child at least eighty pounds in weight or at least 4’9” in height must be secured by an appropriate booster seat or vehicle safety belt.

Children Over Sixteen Years Old

A child over the age of sixteen must wear a properly adjusted and fastened vehicle safety belt meeting federal National Highway, Transportation and Safety Act requirements when driving or riding in the front passenger seat of a passenger car manufactured after January 1, 1968 or when driving or riding in a truck on Missouri’s streets or highways.

Penalties for Violations

You may be fined $50.00 and court costs and found guilty of an infraction for failing to secure a child in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat. If you have been cited for a violation, your charges may be dismissed or withdrawn if you provide satisfactory evidence to the court or the prosecutor prior to your hearing that you have acquired a child passenger restraint system or booster seat.

You may be fined up to $10.00 and found guilty of an infraction for failing to secure a child in a vehicle safety belt. You will not be assessed court costs or points for a violation.

Law Enforcement May Not Stop Your Vehicle for a Suspected Violation of the Vehicle Safety Belt Law

You may not be stopped, detained, or inspected by law enforcement solely to determine whether you are in compliance with Missouri’s vehicle safety belt law.

Exemptions

Your child may be exempt from Missouri’s child passenger restraint system law if he or she is being transported by a public carrier for hire or on a school bus designed to transport at least eleven passengers.

Your child may be exempt from Missouri’s child passenger restraint system law and Missouri’s vehicle safety belt law if you are transporting children in your immediate family, the motor vehicle does not have enough seating positions in the enclosed area, and your child is seated behind the front seat area.

Your child may be exempt from being secured in a booster seat if he or she is transported in secured by a lap belt in the back seat of a motor vehicle which is not equipped with a combination lap and shoulder belt for the installation of a booster seat.

Your child may be exempt from Missouri’s vehicle safety belt law if he or she is being transported on a motorcycle, motorized bicycle, or motorized tricycle or in a truck weighing twelve thousand pounds or more.

Your child may be exempt from Missouri’s vehicle safety belt law if he or she is at least sixteen years old and has a medical reason for not wearing a vehicle safety belt.

Your child may be exempt from Missouri’s vehicle safety belt law if he or she is at least sixteen years old and is operating or riding in a motor vehicle being used for agricultural work.

* 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* on Linkedin
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.

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