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UPDATED: Apr 21, 2020
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There is not a national seat belt law in the United States, but each state has addressed the subject of seat belts as well as child safety seats in different ways with their own state laws.
More than that, some drivers in Indiana and beyond have turned to the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, for guidance and recommendations regarding car seat and seat belt usage for children.
The seat belts in cars are designed to keep adults safer in the event of an accident, but children are usually substantially shorter and lighter than adults.
Adult seat belts ineffective for children in many cases, and drivers must use car seats to keep children safe.
The AAP has created guidelines for parents and other drivers to follow regarding the safe use of car seats and seat belts.
The recommendation by the AAP states that young children who are less than two years old should be placed in the back seat area of a vehicle in a rear-facing car seat.
After children reach the age of two years old, they should be placed in a forward-facing car seat or booster seat, as is applicable based on their height and weight.
Children should continue with this seating arrangement until they are at least 57 inches in height and until they are at least eight to 12 years old. The adult seat belt in a vehicle can then be used for safety purposes after this point.
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What is the Car Seat Law in Indiana?
While the AAP guidelines are recommendations that drivers can choose to follow, Indiana has specific car seat laws that drivers must comply with. Indiana does not specifically state an age, height, or weight requirement for sitting a child in a front-facing or rear-facing car seat.
Recommendations for Children Under the Age of Eight
The state law does indicate that a child safety seat should be used by all children who are under the age of eight years old.
- The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute also recommends that children be strapped into a rear-facing car seat until they are 12 months old.
- More than that, it encourages parents to keep children in a rear-facing position until they are tall enough and heavy enough to face forward per the car seat manufacturer’s recommendations.
Requirements for Older Children
Per state law, children who are between the ages of eight and 15 years old should be securely fastened in an adult seat belt at all times while the car is in motion.
A lap seat belt may be used by children who are at least 40 pounds when a shoulder harness is not available in the vehicle.
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Consequences for Violating the Law
Drivers should follow the Indiana state law as well as the AAP seat belt and safety seat regulations in an effort to keep children as safe and secure as possible while on the road.
In addition, drivers should be aware of how violations of the state’s minimum car seat and seat belts laws can impact them. Drivers may be fined up to $25 for each offense of this law, and points may also be added to their driving record.
Remember that points on your driving record can impact your insurance rates in the future, and you may need to shop around to find the best deal on car insurance if you have a blotched driving record.
The car seat and seat belt law in Indiana is a primary law, and drivers should be aware that law enforcement officers can pull you over if they believe you are in violation of any primary law without a secondary cause.
If they see a child in your vehicle who may not be properly secured by a seat belt or safety seat per state law, you may be pulled over and cited.
Keep Children Safe in Vehicles
The Indiana state law, as well as the AAP guidelines, are only effective at helping to keep children safe when drivers take steps to use car seats properly. All car seats are rated for children based on age, height, and weight.
More than that, they each have installation instructions that should be carefully followed.
It can be challenging to install a car seat properly, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can assist with this process. The NHTSA offers car seat installation checks at designed stations across the country.
These are free checks, and the NHTSA staff may help you to improve the installation of your car seats as necessary to keep children safer in your vehicle.
When You Buy Insurance
Even when Indiana drivers do their best to keep children as safe as possible on the road, accidents can happen from time to time.
The Indiana car insurance requirement for liability coverage offers benefits for other parties if you cause an accident, but it will not pay the medical bills of your passengers who are injured in your own car or for your vehicle repairs.
Buying comprehensive insurance with personal injury coverage can help you to get the full benefits that you need.
Buying insurance in Indiana is not a one-time event. Ideally, drivers will compare at least three to four different policies every few months. This simple step can help you to keep your coverage updated and may assist you in identifying a lower rate on your coverage.
Many Indiana drivers are focused on finding the most affordable car insurance coverage available, but you should also focus your attention on a few other points.
The insurance provider’s financial standing, as well as its customer service stance, are also important factors that can help you to determine which company to buy coverage from.
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