Changes to North Dakota’s Child Passenger Safety Law effective August 1

BISMARCK – More children in North Dakota will be required to use car booster seats beginning Aug. 1 when changes in the state’s child passenger safety law take effect.

Children younger than eight years of age will be required to ride in a child restraint (car seat or booster seat) unless they are 4-feet 9 inches tall or greater. The restraints must be used correctly, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Children ages eight through 17 must be properly secured in a seat belt or restraint, if needed. The law carries a penalty of $25 and one point against the driver’s license.

Booster seats are belt positioning devices that help position the lap and shoulder belt safely across a child’s body – low on the hips and centered across the chest. It is required to use both the lap and shoulder seat belt when using a booster seat.

Booster seats come in two general types – backless boosters and high-back boosters. High-back boosters are recommended if the vehicle seatback does not offer head protection, meaning the vehicle seat back is lower than passenger’s ears.

The North Dakota Department of Health recommends all children younger than 13 years ride in the back seat. Follow these best practices when it comes to transporting children of all sizes:

Rear-Facing: Children should ride rear-facing until at least two years of age or until the upper size limits of the car seat.

Forward-Facing: When children are at least two years of age or have outgrown the highest rear-facing size limits of their car seat, they may ride forward-facing in a car seat with a harness. Use the seat until the child reaches the harness’s highest size limit allowed by the manufacturer.

Boosters: When children have outgrown the harness in their forward-facing car seat, they may utilize a booster seat. Children should be at least 40 pounds and at least four years of age. Keep children in boosters until about 4 feet 9 inches tall.

Seat Belt: When children have outgrown their booster seat, they may use a seat belt when it fits over their body correctly. For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs and be centered across the shoulder and chest. It should not lie on the stomach or across the neck.


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