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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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: Feb 17, 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 laws are not designed to inconvenience parents or make their lives more difficult, but to keep your child’s life safe.

Kids who are not properly secured in the vehicle are significantly more susceptible to injury in the event of an accident, and no one 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.

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.

Child Safety Seat Requirement in Missouri


The law does not make it legal for any child younger than seven to sit in the car without the proper seat unless your child meets very specific requirements. 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 front-facing seat at age one only if he or she also weighs 20 or more pounds. However, you may have read from multiple sources that children should remain in a rear-facing seat until they’re at least two years old.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children remain in car seats that face the rear until they are at least two, but it’s not a law in all states.

Some states have already adopted this recommendation as the law, but Missouri is not one of them. You should leave your child rear-facing until he or she is two, but you will not be penalized if you turn your child around at one provided he or she is the correct size.

The following are other Missouri child safety seat requirements:

  • Once a child reaches the age of one and 20 pounds, they can turn around and face forward. 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 booster 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 safety seat.

All children must be buckled in the car along with all adults. There is a fine for anyone who is caught driving in Missouri with children not properly buckled. 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.

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Important Car Seat Information

There’s more to car seats that 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 variations, and it’s always in your best interest to make sure your child’s car seat meets size requirements.

A child in a car seat too big or too small is not properly secured in any vehicle.

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.

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 someone you don’t know.

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.

If you struggle 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, you can also do this.

Using a car seat is not an option. It’s a requirement in the State of Missouri. 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. It’s not just the law — it’s a matter of life and death.

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