What are the car seat laws in Iowa?

Iowa child safety seat laws are a primary offense with fines starting at $195 per incident. State law mandates children under 6 must be properly secured.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Nov 2, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Children under the age of 12 months old must sit in a rear-facing car seat while on Iowa roads
  • Iowa drivers may be fined for violations of the car seat law as well as the child seat belt regulations
  • Car seats are only effective when they are properly installed, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can assist you with the installation of your car seats

Most drivers in Iowa are aware that young children must be fastened into a car seat for their safety and to comply with state law. However, some drivers in this state are confused about the legal requirements for the use of car seats as well as the recommendations for more enhanced safety.

If you plan to drive in Iowa with one or more children in your vehicle, you need to learn more about the state law as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations for the use of car seats.

There is not a national law regarding the use of car seats in the United States, but the AAP has created safety guidelines that many drivers choose to follow. These guidelines include the recommendation that all children who are less than two years old sit in a rear-facing car seat that is installed in the backseat of the car.

The guidelines also include the use of a front-facing car seat or booster seat until the child is 57 inches tall and is at least eight to 12 years old. Older children and teens should use the adult seat belts in vehicles in an effort to stay safe on roads.

Car Seat Law for Iowa

As a driver in Iowa, you should be aware that state law does not precisely coincide with the AAP’s guidelines for the use of car seats. For example, Iowa state law indicates that children who are less than 12 months old and who weigh less than 20 pounds should sit in a rear-facing car seat in the backseat of the car.

The law also requires children who are between the ages of one and five years old to sit in a front-facing car seat.

Any children who are six years old or older can legally use the adult car seat in this state.

All drivers should comply with Iowa’s child safety laws to keep kids safe and to avoid hefty fines. However, you can also choose to comply with the additional guidelines created by the AAP in order to keep kids as safe as possible while on the road in Iowa.

For example, while children who are six years old in Iowa can use an adult seat belt, you may wish to keep them in a car seat for a few more years based on the AAP recommendations for child safety on the roads.

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Consequences for Breaking the Law in Iowa

Before you venture onto Iowa’s roads with children in your vehicle, you need to be aware of instances when law enforcement officials can legally pull you over and cite you for a violation of child safety and car seat laws.

These are primary laws in Iowa, which means that law enforcement officials can pull you over for this reason without any additional cause required.

For example, if you drive by a police officer and he sees that a child in your car is standing up in the backseat, you may be pulled over and cited for this violation.

If you violate these laws in Iowa, you may be charged a fine. A $195 fine may be charged for each car seat violation, and a $127 fine may be charged for each seat belt violation for older children. If you have multiple children in your car who are not properly fastened per state law, you may be charged multiple fines.


Provide for Child Safety in Iowa

Despite most drivers’ best efforts, car seats are not always installed and used properly. Faulty or improper installation is one of the most common issues related to the improper use of car seats in Iowa.

Drivers can benefit from a free car seat installation check by visiting an approved station with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The NHTSA can inspect any type of car seat in your vehicle and can assist with improving the installation technique that you have used, and you can find a check station close to your home through the NHTSA’s website.

Get a Solid Insurance Policy

Car seats and seatbelt are designed to reduce the severity of injuries that children may experience in an accident, but some children may still require medical attention after an accident in Iowa.

Car insurance can be used to pay for most of these medical expenses, but you need to have the right kind of car insurance in place. As you shop around for new car insurance, look for comprehensive coverage that also has personal injury coverage to enjoy these benefits.

Insurance rates, as well as coverage needs, can vary periodically, and because of this, drivers are encouraged to compare insurance rates every six months. When shopping online for new rates, look beyond the rate to focus your attention on the overall reputation of the company and its financial strength.

When you take all of these factors into consideration, you can make a smart decision about your car insurance. Don’t miss out on our free quote tool below now! 


  1. https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/child-passenger-safety/
  2. https://www.safekids.org/state-law-tracker

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