What are the car seat laws in Missouri?

Missouri requires different car seats based on the child's age and size. There is a $50 fine for failing to obey the state's safety laws.

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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: Oct 20, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • There is a $50 fine for not using a car seat
  • Car insurance companies in Missouri take these laws seriously
  • Children must remain rear-facing until they are one
  • Booster seat laws are age, weight, and height-mandated

The Missouri Department of Transportation does not take child safety lightly when it pertains to car seats. All children younger than seven must ride in an approved child safety seat if they do not meet weight and height guidelines.

The child passenger restraint laws are not designed to inconvenience parents or make their lives more difficult, but to keep your children safe when they’re in a motor vehicle and reduce the risk of injury.

Kids who are not properly secured in the vehicle are significantly more at risk of death or severe injury in the event of an accident, and no parent wants their children injured by something so easily preventable.

If you are a parent who is just welcoming your first baby or is just moving to Missouri for the first time, you might not be aware of the law regarding child safety seats. Even parents who have lived here many years might not be familiar with the specifics of child passenger safety.

Your child’s life is dependent on the correct child safety seat.

It’s time to learn how they work, what the law requires, and why you must ask about child safety seat replacement when you’re shopping for new car insurance coverage. Enter your ZIP code into our free rate comparison tool above to find the best car insurance for you.

What Are The Child Passenger Safety Requirements in Missouri?


The law does not make it legal for any children age seven or younger to be in a motor vehicle without the proper seat unless your child meets very specific requirements (such as a height limit). All children younger than one weighing less than 20 pounds must be properly secured in a rear-facing car seat.

Children may be placed in a forward-facing car seat at age one only if he or she also weighs 20 or more pounds. You should also make sure that you follow the guidelines provided by the seat manufacturer for any child car seat to help reduce the risk of injury. The seat manual will detail the maximum height, maximum weight, and other key information about your seat model.

However, you may have read from multiple sources that children should remain in a rear-facing car seat until they’re at least two years old.

Expert advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children remain in a rear-facing seat until age two, but it’s not a child passenger restraint law in all states.

Some states have already adopted this recommendation and made seat laws stricter, but Missouri is not one of them. You should leave your child rear-facing until they are two, but you will not be penalized if you turn your child around at one provided they are the correct size based on the weight limit.

The following are other Missouri child safety seat requirements:

  • Once a child reaches the age of one and 20 pounds, they no longer are required to use a rear-facing safety seat. Your child must remain in a car seat with a five-point harness until he or she is at least four and weighs at least 40 pounds.
  • Only when your child is 40 pounds can your child graduate into a booster seat. The child booster seat is a forward-facing seat that is secured with both a lap belt and a shoulder belt. The booster car seat is designed for kids who are more than 40 pounds and four years old, and you should leave your child in this seat until he or she is at least seven.
  • Your child must also weigh at least 80 pounds and stand at least four feet nine inches tall to sit in the car without a front-facing car seat. Once they have outgrown the safety seat recommendation, they can graduate to a regular seat belt. Make sure that they understand how to put it in the proper position.

All children must be buckled in the car with a typical seat belt along with all adults. There is a fine for anyone who is caught driving in Missouri with children not properly buckled as this is a violation of child safety seat and seatbelt law. The fine is $50 per child as well as court costs associated with fighting the case or paying the fines.

It’s always more affordable and safer to keep your kids in the correct car seat to avoid a child restraint violation.


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What Other Important Car Seat Information Do Parents Need?

There’s more to car seats than just putting kids in them until they are the correct size, weight, and age. You must also have the correct car seat. There are many types of child safety restraint device, and it’s always in your best interest to make sure your child’s car seat meets size requirements.

Make sure you know when to move on from an infant car seat and whether your child needs a rear-facing child seat or if they’re ready for a forward-facing restraint system. Remember to keep your child in at least a belt-positioning booster seat as long as they are under 80 pounds; even though they are allowed in a forward-facing position, this weight restriction prohibits them from using an adult seat belt yet.

A child in a car seat too big or too small is not properly secured in any vehicle because they can’t provide proper restraint.

All car seats must be newer than six years old, and they must not be used if they’ve been involved in a car accident. Whether it was major or minor, the seat might not perform to standard in a second accident if it’s already been involved in one. You should always read the seat manual, conduct regular seat inspection, ensure proper seating position, check seat belt fit, and so on. This is the best way to keep your child safe in case of a motor vehicle accident.

Because of this, you must always discuss new car seat replacement coverage with your car insurance agency. It’s a deciding factor for many parents.

Most agencies offer this, but you cannot purchase a policy if it doesn’t offer new car seat replacement. Your child’s life depends on the safety of his or her seat, and this is one way to break down the cost of buying a new seat.

You can reuse your older children’s car seats if you know they’re within the correct age and haven’t been in an accident before, but never buy a used seat from a vehicle owner you don’t know.

How Do You Ensure Proper Car Seat Installation?


The simple truth is many people find car seat installation confusing. They’re all installed differently. They all have many straps, and understanding how to properly use a car seat is not always as simple as it appears. Make sure to read the seat manual!

If you are having a difficult time trying to properly install your car seat, you can check with any local police department in Missouri. They offer help to all parents who have questions. If you installed it correctly and just want to double-check, or you’d like help finding a restraint system suitable for your family, you are also welcome to reach out for help.

Safety seat protection is a requirement in the State of Missouri, so child restraint is never optional. Even if you are just driving through the state with your family on the way to another state, your child must be in the correct seats and properly secured. Children rely on their parents to make their vehicle the safest vehicle on the road. Don’t let them down.

Compare car insurance quotes right here to find the coverage that’s right for your needs. Enter your ZIP code below to begin!


  1. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vM0JV6hfyTXmQL2HlyMVJdIvZFG-NRWv9znKhlPdSuw/edit#gid=1595364372
  2. https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/child-passenger-safety/
  3. https://www.consumerreports.org/car-seats/are-secondhand-car-seats-safe/
  4. https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats

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