Indiana Car Seat Laws in 2021

In Indiana law, the Passenger Restraint Systems for Children law requires that a person transporting a child under eight years old correctly restrain and fasten the child using a child restraint system in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and that a person transporting a child between the ages of eight and fifteen years old correctly restrain and fasten the child using either: a safety belt, if the motor vehicle has a safety belt meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards, or a child restraint system in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Babies and Children Up to Eight Years Old

A person transporting a child under eight years old must correctly restrain and fasten the child using a child restraint system in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Failure to properly restrain and fasten a child under eight years old is a Class D infraction.

Children Eight to Fifteen Years Old

A person transporting a child between the ages of eight and fifteen years old must correctly restrain and fasten the child using either: a safety belt, if the motor vehicle is equipped with a safety belt meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards; or a child restraint system in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Failure to properly restrain and fasten a child between the ages of eight and fifteen years old is a Class D infraction.

Penalties for Violations

If you are convicted of a first violation of Indiana’s Passenger Restraint Systems for Children law, the court will enter a judgment against you. If the court finds that you possess or have acquired a child restraint system, you will not be liable for any monetary judgment or costs. If the court finds that you do not possess and have not acquired a child restraint system, you will be ordered to provide proof of possession or acquisition of a child restraint system within thirty days. If you comply with this order and have no previous judgments of violation, you will not be liable for a monetary judgment or costs. The court will forward a certified record of the judgment against you to the bureau of motor vehicles. The bureau will not assess points for a violation.

Exemptions

You may be exempt from Indiana’s Passenger Restraint Systems for Children law if you are operating one of the following types of vehicles: a school bus; a special purpose bus; a taxi; a medical services vehicle; or a bus, motorcycle, motor driven cycle, passenger motor vehicle, or truck originally manufactured without safety belts before federal motor vehicle safety standards required the installation of safety belts; a motor vehicle owned or leased by the government and being used for official law enforcement duties; a motor vehicle being used in an emergency; or a motor vehicle that is funeral equipment and is being used in funeral services, in a funeral procession, or in the return trip to the funeral home.

Your child may be exempt if you present to the police officer or the court a certificate from a physician, physician’s assistant, or advanced practice registered nurse stating that it is impractical for your child to be restrained and fastened by a child restraint system because of a physical condition or deformity or a medical condition.

Your child may be exempt if he or she weighs more than forty pounds, is correctly restrained and fastened by a lap safety belt, and the motor vehicle either does not have lap and shoulder safety belts, or the motor vehicle has lap and shoulder safety belts but all are being used to correctly restrain other children under sixteen years old.

* 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*

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.