Child Passenger Law

Starting July 1, 2005, Indiana children from birth to age 8 years must ride in child restraints.

Boosters are the most common type of child restraint for children who have outgrown their child safety harness with straps. This is usually when a child weighs about 40 pounds.

There are other child safety seats with harnesses and safety vests that fir children who weigh more than 40 pounds. These are helpful for children who will not stay seated in a booster seat.

The Best Place to Ride

All children should ride in the rear seat until age 13. They should be buckled up in a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt that is right for their age and size.
Booster Seet

How Booster Seats Work

Booster seats lift the child up so that the seat belt fits correctly. Without a booster seat, a seat belt can ride up on a child's stomach or across the neck. This can cause injuries to the stomach or spine in a crash. A child can also be thrown from a vehicle when a seat belt does not fit.

Booster seats must always be used with a lap/shoulder belt; never just a lap belt.

Types of Booster Seats

High Back Boosters

These seats have head and neck support for a child. They can be used in vehicles that do not have head rests.

Backless Boosters

These seats do not have backs. They can only be used in vehicles with head rests.

High Back Booster

Child Booster Seat

Backless Booster

Backless Booster Seat

How to use a Booster Seat

Place the booster on the vehicle seat. Have the child sit in the booster seat. Bring the lap/shoulder belt over the child's hips and chest.

Buckle the vehicle seat belt and pull it tight. The belt should be tight and flat on the child's body. If there is a shoulder belt guide on the booster, bring the shoulder belt through the guide. The shoulder belt should lie between the child's neck and shoulder.

When to Use an Adult Seat Belt

A child is ready to use a seat belt when he or she can sit all the way back on the vehicle seat without slouching. The child's knees should hang over the edge of the vehicle seat. This is usually when a child is about 4'9" tall. A properly fitting lap/shoulder belt will lie flat on the upper thighs and between the neck and shoulder.

Indiana Child Passenger Law

  • Children from birth to age 8 must ride in child restraints.
  • Children 8 to 16 years old must use child restraints or seat belts.
  • This law applies to all vehicles including trucks and SUVs.
  • This law applies to all vehicle seating positions.
  • Children under the age of 16 cannot ride in the bed of a pickup.


  • Booster seats can protect a child from severe injuries or death in a crash.
  • Booster seats must be used with a lap/shoulder belt. The shoulder belt should lie flat between the neck and shoulder and the lap belt low over the upper thighs.
Information on this page is provided by the Automotive Safety Program, supported by the Governor's Council on Impaired and Dangerous Driving, Office of Traffic Safety.
Infant Seat