What are the car seat laws in Michigan?

Michigan child safety seat laws are a primary offense with fines starting at $65 per incident. State law mandates children under 8 must be properly secured.

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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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: Apr 21, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • Michigan drivers must pay a $65 fine if their kids are not properly buckled
  • In addition, Michigan auto insurance companies will increase your rates for not being safe
  • Reusing a car seat is fine only if it’s fewer than six years old
  • Kids younger than four may ride in car seats in the front seat if the back seat is already full of car seats

Michigan lawmakers want to keep children safe in the car. Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for children in this state, and the emphasis on safety in the car is something lawmakers focus on regularly.

Not securing your child in a proper car seat is not only dangerous, but it’s also against the law in Michigan. If you’re caught driving without your children buckled properly into the correct child safety seat, you face serious consequences.

These laws are designed to protect children, and understanding each law is imperative.

Anyone who has a child must have a car seat, but it’s often overwhelming to understand which car seat fits what kids, how to find a safe car seat, and what to do if your child’s car seat is damaged in an accident.

Your car insurance policy should offer car seat replacement for all car seats damaged in an accident, and it’s also something you want to discuss when you compare rates with different companies before you select a policy.

Compare car insurance quotes right here to make sure to find the best policy at the best price. Enter your ZIP code into our free rate tool above.

Michigan Child Safety Seat Laws and Requirements

All children younger than four must be in a car seat with a five-point harness no matter their size. Children younger than four may not graduate into a child safety booster seat until they reach the age of four and they are at least 40 pounds.

Once they’ve graduated into a booster seat, children are required to remain in that seat until they are at least four feet nine inches tall.

It’s recommended you leave your child in the booster until they are eight, but it’s not illegal to remove a child from a booster before they turn eight if they meet the height requirement.

Michigan law requires all infants to remain in a rear-facing convertible car seat until they are one and 20 pounds. 

The state has yet to pass a law requiring children to remain rear-facing until they are two as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, but Michigan lawmakers encourage parents to keep their children rear-facing as long as possible.

All children should sit in a seat that works with their weight.

Laws require children in car seats to ride in the back seat of a car, but there is one special circumstance. If all the back seat belts are being used by other children in car seats or there is no back seat in a car, it’s legal to place a child younger than four in a car seat in the front.

The airbag must be placed in the off position if a child is in the front seat.

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Penalties for not Driving With Kids in Proper Car Seats

Anyone who does not abide by the child safety seat laws in effect in Michigan is charged a $65 fine. Police officers have the right to pull over any driver for seat belt violations, including children not in the correct seats.

You won’t see any points on your license, and you won’t face jail time. If you cannot pay the fee, you must work something out with the local clerk or court to avoid further legal issues.

Car Seat Shopping Tips

Buying a car seat can be overwhelming for new parents and even parents who are graduating their kids into the next size. There are so many different versions of a car seat on the market, and knowing which one to purchase is intimidating.

The most important thing you can do is read the information about the car seat on the box. Manufacturers are required to place the size requirements on the box for easy reading. These size requirements include:

  • Child’s weight
  • Child’s height

Your child’s car seat must be within their weight limit. For example, a one-year-old who weighs 23 pounds must be in a car seat that fits kids who weigh 23 pounds.

He or she may not remain in an infant seat that only fits kids up to 20 pounds. It’s also important to understand purchasing a used car seat is always dangerous if you’re unfamiliar with the previous owner.

Any car seat involved in any type of traffic accident is considered dangerous. They may not be effective in keeping kids safe after one accident, and your child could become injured in an accident riding in a used car seat.

You may use a used car seat if it’s one you know was not involved in an accident, but you should only use it if it was manufactured in the past six years.

Your Insurance Policy Covers the Cost of Car Seat Replacement

If you are involved in an accident, you must not use the car seat your child was in following the accident. If you cannot afford a new car seat, call your insurance agent.

The cost of replacement is covered under the comprehensive coverage you carry, and they are responsible for replacing or reimbursing you for the cost of the new car seat. The law wants you to put safety first in the car with your kids.

It’s not just kids who are saved when they are in the proper seats. You are also more likely to walk away from an accident if you wear your own safety belt.

It’s also important you require your children to continue wearing their seat belt when they are no longer required to sit in a child safety seat. It’s also a good idea to keep your kids in the back seat until they reach 13. It’s safer this way.

Compare car insurance quotes right here to find the policy that offers the protection you’re looking for at the best rate.

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