What You Need to Know About Michigan Car Seat Laws | Scott Goodwin Law

What You Need to Know About Michigan Car Seat Laws

by / Friday, 28 October 2022 / Published in Michigan Law, Motor Vehicle Accidents
A mother buckles her baby into a car seat.

For the first several years of a child’s life, they’re going to spend a lot of time in car seats and booster seats. Finding the right seats for their child is a challenge many parents need to deal with, to say nothing of making sure that seat is installed properly in their vehicles. While car and booster seats can be frustrating for parents to deal with, they play an important role in keeping children safe in the event of a car accident. 

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children. According to the CDC, 607 child passengers were killed in crashes in 2020 with 63,000 more children injured. And out of those fatal crashes, 38% of them were not buckled in at the time of the crash. 

Children are required by law to be buckled in safely while riding in a car. So what exactly are those laws in the state of Michigan?

Michigan Car Seat Laws

Broadly speaking, Michigan law requires children to be in car seats/booster seats until they are either 8 years old or at least 4’9” tall. This requirement is covered by Section 257.710(e) of the Michigan Vehicle Code. Section 257.710(d) of the Vehicle Code outlines further requirements that apply to driving with a child under the age of 4 and states the following:

  • Each driver transporting a child less than 4 years of age in a motor vehicle shall properly secure that child in a child restraint system that meets the standards prescribed in 49 CFR 571.213.
  • A driver transporting a child as required shall position the child in the child restraint system in a rear seat, if the vehicle is equipped with a rear seat.
  • If all available rear seats are occupied by children less than 4 years of age, then a child less than 4 years of age may be positioned in the child restraint system in the front seat.
  • A child in a rear-facing child restraint system may be placed in the front seat only if the front passenger airbag is deactivated.

Once a child ages or grows out of the requirement for booster seats, but are still under the age of 16, Michigan law requires them to wear a seat belt regardless of where they are sitting in the vehicle. And, of course, it’s a good practice for everybody to buckle up even after they’re over the age of 16.

Are There any Exceptions for Car Seats?

Sections 257.710(d) and 257.710(d) both state that they do not apply if the vehicle is a bus/school bus, motorcycle, moped, or is a motor vehicle not required to have seatbelts under federal law. Section 257.710(d) also provides exemptions for other types of vehicles, but most of them are vehicles that are unlikely to have children in them, like postal vehicles and vehicles used for other types of deliveries. Vehicles produced before January 1, 1965 are also exempt from the seat belt and car seat requirements listed in that section. 

Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

If your child has been injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Not only do you need to think about your child’s immediate care needs, you also need to make sure any long-term care needs will be taken care of and a lawyer will be able to help make sure all of your expenses will be covered. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to talk to a Michigan-based lawyer experienced in Michigan no-fault law. Contact us today to find out how we can help.