In 2017, children in the 8-12 age range made up over 50 percent of child injuries from vehicle crashes. The right car seat can be the difference between life and death in the event of a car accident. Yet nearly 85 percent of child safety seats are used incorrectly.
Indiana seat belt laws state that all children 15 and younger must be properly restrained when riding in a vehicle. For kids 8 and up, that likely means using a seat belt.
But some kids may need a few more months or years in a booster seat before they’re ready to use a seat belt. It isn’t always easy to know which seat is best for your child. How do you know when it is safe for your child to stop using a booster seat?
Booster Seat Laws in Indiana
Indiana law requires you to follow the seat restraint manufacturer’s instructions on when to use each kind of safety restraint. For children four years old and younger, that typically means a rear-facing or front-facing car seat. For kids four to eight years old, that usually means a booster seat.
In Indiana, you can stop using a booster seat when your child is eight years old. However, not every child meets the weight requirements when they turn eight. Make sure that your child meets both the weight and height requirements before switching to a seat belt from a booster seat.
Is My Child Big Enough for a Seat Belt?
You are ready to stop using a booster seat when a seat belt fits your child correctly. Double check that the seat belt lays across their thighs, not their stomach, and that the shoulder belt doesn’t dig into their neck.
Your child’s back should press against the back of the seat, and their knees should bend comfortably over the edge. If they cannot comfortably sit in the back seat, then they are probably not the right size or weight for a seat belt.
Children can be injured or killed by airbags. For their safety, keep your child in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.
Following child safety restraint laws is not only a matter of safety, but of legality. Violating child safety restraint laws is a standard offense in Indiana. If you are pulled over and your child is not using the proper safety restraint, you could pay a hefty fine.
Always Put Safety First
Make car safety a habit in your family. Always make sure that the other passengers are buckled in or secured before you start driving. If you aren’t sure which safety restraint is right for your child, you can always check the manufacturer’s guidelines online.
If you and your family have the misfortune of experiencing a car accident, a local personal injury attorney can help you decide your next steps. Please download A Quick Guide to Property Damage for information on how to handle a property damage claim without an attorney. If you have questions, give us a call or contact us online for a free conversation about your car accident claim.