The Missouri State Highway Patrol joins the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Ad Council, and other safety
advocates to commemorate National Child Passenger Safety Week (September
The primary goal of this program is to remind all parents
and other adults responsible for children traveling in motor vehicles
of the importance of child safety seats and seat belts. Every year,
children suffer needless injuries in traffic crashes.
statistics indicate that in 2013, 12 children under the age of eight
were killed in traffic crashes, and another 1,720 were injured. Troopers
issued citations to 2,311 drivers who failed to secure children less
than eight years old in a child restraint/booster seat in 2013.
issued citations to an additional 416 drivers who failed to secure a
child 80 pounds or more or over 4’9” in a booster seat/seat belt in
Drivers are responsible for ensuring all passengers under the age
of 16 are properly restrained when riding in their vehicle. In 2013,
troopers issued citations to 1,047 drivers who failed to secure a child
under the age of 16 in a seat belt.
The proper restraint makes everyone
safer. Whether in a seat belt or a child restraint, please make sure
everyone in your vehicle is properly buckled up!
Missouri law states:
* Children less than four years old are required to use an
appropriate child passenger restraint system. [The fine for not
complying with the law is $50.]
* Children less than 40 pounds, regardless of age, must be
secured in a child passenger restraint system appropriate for the child.
[The fine for not complying with the law is $50.]
* Children ages four to eight years old who weigh at least 40
pounds, but less than 80 pounds, and are under 4’9” tall, must be
secured in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat
appropriate for that child. [The fine for not complying with the law is
* Children ages eight through 15 must wear seat belts regardless
of the type of vehicle in which they are riding or where they are seated
(front or back). Like the child restraint law, this is a primary law,
meaning you can be pulled over by law enforcement for noncompliance. The
fine is $10.
* Persons less than 18 years of age operating or riding in trucks
(regardless of gross weight for which licensed) must wear seat belts.
*No person under age 18 is allowed to ride in the unenclosed bed
of a truck with a licensed gross weight of less than 12,000 pounds on
lettered highways, federal, state maintained highways, and within city
limits. There are exemptions for agricultural purposes, special events,
* It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure passengers under
the age of 16 are buckled up safely. Those 16 and over are responsible
There are many styles of child safety seats from which parents
may choose. Infant seats are designed for children up to 22-30 pounds
depending on the seat manufacturer.
This type of seat should be placed
into a vehicle so the infant faces rearward in a semi-reclined position.
It is important to remember rear-facing child seats should NOT be used
in a front passenger seat equipped with an active frontal air bag.
deployed, an air bag could hit the infant seat and injure or kill the
baby. Airbag or not, the back seat is the safest place for a child.
Most convertible child safety seats are designed for children
from five pounds up to 40 - 80 pounds, depending on the manufacturer.
Like all seats, they have manufacturer’s labels on the side indicating
the maximum height and weight of a child who can use the seat. They
recline and face rearward in an infant position, and convert to sit
upright and face forward for the toddler position. Many newer
convertible seats can hold children who weigh up to 35-40 pounds in the
rear-facing position. NHTSA recommends keeping children rear facing
until they reach the maximum rear-facing height and weight for the car
seat. The child can then be turned around forward-facing.
Booster seats are designed for children who have outgrown other
safety seats and must be used with an adult lap and shoulder belt.
Lap/shoulder belts are designed for children who are at least 4' 9" tall
or 80 or more pounds. Make sure the lap belt stays low and snug across
the lower hip/upper thigh area, and the shoulder belt does not cross the
face or the neck.
"Troopers investigate traffic crashes every day. Nothing is more
disturbing than a traffic crash that includes a child being hurt or
killed," said Colonel Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State
Highway Patrol. "Parents, your child's safety begins with you. Please
teach your children the value of using seat belts by setting the
example. It’s a habit that could one day save their life.”
For safety reasons, the Missouri State Highway Patrol discourages
the purchase of second hand child safety seats. Also, a safety seat
that has been in a vehicle during a traffic crash should be replaced.
There is no one "safest" manufacturer or model of child safety
seat. Use the one that fits your child, fits in your vehicle correctly,
and one that you will use properly every trip, every time. According to
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three out of four
child safety seats are installed improperly.
Car seat inspection
stations are located all over Missouri. For more information about the
proper use of child restraint systems or to schedule a child safety seat
inspection, contact the nearest Missouri State Highway Patrol troop
headquarters and ask for the public information and education officer,
or visit www.seatcheck.org.