Iowa car seat laws are primary laws. This means a vehicle can be pulled over if police suspect a violation. The Iowa law is mainly based on a child’s age. Kids under 6 must ride in a car seat or booster seat. (Infants up to 1 year and 20 pounds must ride rear facing.) Children from 6 to 11 must ride in a booster seat until an adult seat belt fits correctly. This is usually when a child reaches about 4′-9″ (57″) tall.
Fines in Iowa can be steep. They can be up to $195. Usually the driver is charged this fine, but in Iowa there is a unique twist. A driver is responsible for securing passengers 13 and under. Kids 14 through 17 who do not buckle up will receive the citation and fine.
Please be aware that Iowa law is a minimum requirement. Safety experts recommend keeping kids in each stage of safety seat until they reach the seat’s manufacturer recommended weight or height limit.
Refer to the links below for more detailed info.
State and Local Resources for Iowa Car Seat Laws
Blank Children’s Hospital – Iowa’s Car Seat Law
Iowa Department of Public Safety – PDF – Details on Car Seat Law and Fines
City of Dubuque – local car seat inspection times and locations (by police officers who are certified technicians)
National Resources for Iowa 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.