The North Dakota car seat law is a primary law, meaning a driver can be stopped if police suspect someone in the vehicle under age 18 is not properly restrained. This means that kids under 7 years old must ride in a correctly used car seat.
Kids age 7 through age 17 must use a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt. If a seat belt fits properly, that is allowed. If not, the child must ride in a car seat or booster seat appropriate for his or her height and weight. The driver is responsible for properly installing and using all safety seats according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
There are 2 exceptions for kids 7 years old and under. First, a child under 8 who is more than 80 pounds AND over 4′-9″ (57″) tall may use only a seat belt. Second, if your vehicle does not have shoulder belts, or if they are being used by other passengers, a child under 7 who is at least 40 pounds may wear just a lap belt. This is because booster seats are meant to be used with both a lap and shoulder belt. They are not safe with a lap belt only.
Check out the links below for more on car seat laws in North Dakota, as well as recommendations for best practices from safety experts.
UPDATE: On August 1, 2017, a new car seat law went into effect in North Dakota. The new law requires kids to ride in a size and age appropriate car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old. Kids 4′-9″ inches tall or more are excluded. There is a $25 fine with the new law as well.
State Resources for North Dakota Car Seat Law
ND Department of Health – North Dakota car seat law
North Dakota Department of Transportation – Child Buckling Best Practices
North Dakota Department of Transportation – car seat checkup events by location
IIHS – Chart of Seatbelt and Car Seat Laws by State
National Resources for North Dakota Car Seat and Booster Seat Laws
nhtsa.gov – U.S. Department of Transportation / National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website
safercar.gov – The NHTSA publishes this site. Parents Central is the child safety section. This is a great info packed site, so if you have questions about almost anything related to car seats or booster seats, definitely check this one out.
iihs.org – Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, child safety page
safekids.org – A global organization about keeping children safe, especially from preventable injuries or fatalities. Their site includes tips on car seat choice and car seat inspection events, among other things.