North Dakota Car Seat Laws

A Summary of Child Car Seat Laws in North Dakota

Car Seat Laws as they pertain to the state of North Dakota

  • According to the North Dakota Department of Health, children should ride on rear-facing seats until at least age 2.
  • Children who are at least 2 years old or those who have outgrown the rear-facing seat limits can graduate to a forward-facing seat with a harness.
  • North Dakota law says children younger than 8 years should be secured in the appropriate child restraint system.
  • A child should weigh at least 40 pounds and be at least 4 years old before transitioning to a booster seat.
  • Children should ride in the back seat until age 13.

Rear-facing Car Seat Laws in North Dakota

According to the North Dakota Department of Health, children should ride on rear-facing seats until at least age 2 or until they exceed the manufacturer’s maximum weight and height limits. The rear-facing position is the safest for infants since their fragile and flexible bodies are protected by the back of the seat in case of a crash. Therefore, you should strive to keep your child in this position for as long as possible. There are two types of rear-facing seats – infant-only and convertible seats. Infant-only seats are perfect for newborns and can support weights of up to 35 pounds. Once your child has exceeded the infant-only seat requirements, you can use a convertible seat which allows you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period (up to age 4) due to its higher weight limit (up to 40 pounds). Make sure to install the seat in the rear of the car and away from an active airbag.

Forward-Facing Car Seat Laws in North Dakota

The North Dakota Department of Health says children who are at least 2 years old or those who have outgrown the rear-facing seat limits can graduate to a forward-facing seat with a harness. If you are using a convertible seat, you can turn the seat to face forward. The shoulder straps, hip straps, and crotch strap should be tightly secured over the child’s body. This helps in reducing the crash forces that may be exerted on the child in case of a car crash. You can also secure the seat together with lap-shoulder belts or lap-only belts. Use the seat until the child exceeds the manufacturer’s weight and height guidelines. Typically, most seats can support up to 65 pounds. This means some kids may remain in the forward-facing position until when closer to age 7.

Booster Seat Regulations in North Dakota

North Dakota law says children younger than 8 years should be secured in the appropriate child restraint system. This means children who have outgrown forward-facing seats can ride on booster seats until age 8. According to the state’s department of health, a child should weigh at least 40 pounds and be at least 4 years old before transitioning to a booster seat. They further advise parents to keep their children in booster seats until they are 4’9” tall or until regular safety belts can fit correctly. A booster seat raises a child so that the lap-shoulder belt can cross over the stronger parts of the child’s body. The lap belt should be snugly positioned across the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt should lie flat across the middle of the chest area. Use a high-back booster seat to support your child’s head and neck if your back seats do not have headrests. Booster seats can support up to 80 pounds, so children can surpass age 8 while still safe in booster seats. Before transitioning your child to safety belts, make sure that they are big enough to fit in them. An improper fit may expose your child to stomach and neck injuries in the event of a car crash or an abrupt stop. For a child to be considered seat belt ready, he or she should be able to sit all the way back against the seat without slouching and with knees bent at the edge of the seat.

Requirements for children to use the front seat in North Dakota

There is no law that covers the specific requirements for front seats. The North Dakota Department of Health recommends children should ride in the back seat until age 13. This is in line with most experts who agree that the back seat is generally safer. Also, passenger-side airbags installed in front seats are designed for adults and can injure children if inflated during an accident.

Car Seat Law on Children under 18 years in North Dakota

The law requires children in this age group who have outgrown booster seats to be properly restrained (with seat belts).

Law on leaving a child in a car in North Dakota

There is no law regarding leaving a child in a car, although we do not recommend leaving your child unattended in a vehicle for any length of time.

Law on Smoking in a car with a child in North Dakota

The state does not have any law regarding smoking in a car with child passengers, although it is not recommended to smoke in a vehicle with a child present.

Car Seat Law Exemptions in North Dakota

Emergency vehicles and vehicles manufactured without seat belts are exempt from complying with the state’s car seat laws. The law is not clear on whether taxis are exempted.

Law on Car Seat Replacement in North Dakota

No law covers the replacement of car seats. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car seats should be replaced after a moderate or severe accident. You should also check for the expiry date included in the car seat or manual.

More North Dakota Laws

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