Traveling with Children: Know the Laws

Minnesota has a stern seat belt law, and that mandatory law also covers child restraints while driving. If you drive with your children often, then it’s important for you to know the laws revolving around children and seat belts. Not only will following the mandatory laws help you avoid penalties, you’ll also be ensuring that you keep all of your child passengers safe each time you are on the road.

In Minnesota, all drivers in passengers that are seated in a vehicle need to be utilizing seat belts, or the correct type of child restraint in the case of children. If individuals are not properly restrained while in your car, know it’s not uncommon for the police to pull over and ticket anybody in your car that isn’t using a seat belt. If either you or any of your passengers gets caught without a seat belt, the fine can cost anywhere from $25 to $100.

Minnesota’s Child Passenger Safety and Booster Seat Law

Passenger safety laws in Minnesota are even more strict when it comes to children. Children who are under 8 years of age and shorter than 4 feet 9 inches must be restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat that is in line with federal safety standards. This law also implies that a child should not be using a seat belt by himself or herself until reaching the age of eight or the height of 4 feet 9 inches tall, whichever growth marker the child achieves first. Still, the state of Minnesota says it is better to keep children in booster seats based on their height instead of their age.

Ensuring Child Passenger Safety

To ensure the safety of all child passengers in your car, you need to make sure you are using a child car seat that meets federal safety requirements and you also must install that car seat correctly to avoid any potential injuries. To make sure that you’ve installed the seat correctly, follow the directions give to you by the car seat manufacturer, and also make sure you check the vehicle’s owner’s manual. When you review the instruction manual for the child safety seat, make sure you check the weight and height restrictions to ensure it matches the child’s needs. Once a child is old enough to ride without a car seat, he or she needs to ride in the rear seat until reaching the age of 13.

Common Mistakes to Avoid There are a few common mistakes you’ll want to watch out for when using a child car seat. First, avoid turning a child from a rear-facing safety seat to a forward-facing one too soon. Also, make sure that you secure the safety seat in so that it is tight enough and doesn’t move more than an inch on each side. Check on the child’s harness to make sure it is tight enough. If you can pinch the harness’s material successfully, then the harness is too loose, and you need to tighten it. Also, check on the retainer clip on the seat to make sure it is at the child’s armpit level

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