Indiana car seat law states lean heavily on manufacturers of federally approved car seats and booster seats. The state requires that kids under 8 years old must ride in a child restraint appropriate for their height and weight, used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Kids between 8 and 16 must travel either in a child restraint or a seat belt.  See the links below for more info.

In Indiana, buses and taxis are not required to have seat belts. Otherwise, all passengers must buckle up.

It’s important to know that booster seats (sometimes called belt position boosters) are meant to be used with BOTH a lap belt and shoulder belt. It is not safe to use a booster seat with just a lap belt. If your vehicle does not have shoulder belts, or those seats are being used by other kids, a child over 40 pounds is allowed to ride using just a seat belt.

How do you know if an adult seat belt fits your child correctly? Here are some questions to ask. If you can answer YES to all questions, the seat belt fits correctly.

  • Sitting all the way back, can your child’s knees bend at the front of the seat? (no slouching)
  • Does the lap belt fit across your child’s upper legs and hips, and not their stomach?
  • Does the shoulder belt cross at your child’s shoulder and chest, not touching their neck or face?

Local and State Resources for Indiana Car Seat Law

Indiana.gov – Traffic Safety Facts (pdf, page 2)

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – Table of Seatbelt and Child Safety Laws by State

Indiana Child Passenger Restraint Laws – including a list of child safety seat inspection stations (bottom link in sidebar)

Tips for Grandparents – This is a great overview of current protocol for anyone who hasn’t used a car seat in awhile (or ever).

Indiana General Assembly – Title 9 Article 19 Chapter 11 – Passenger Restraint Systems for Children

National Resources for Indiana Car Seat and Booster Seat Laws

nhtsa.gov  – U.S. Department of Transportation / National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website

safercar.gov – Also known as Parents Central, this is the child safety section of the safercar.gov website, published through the NHTSA. This is an awesome info packed site, so if you have general questions, definitely stop here.

iihs.org – Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, child safety page

safekids.org – A global organization all about keeping kids safe, especially from preventable injuries or fatalities. Their site includes tips on car seat choice and car seat inspection events, among other things.