All 50 states and the District of Columbia require that children up to age 4 use child safety restraints, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Many states have supplemental requirements for booster seats. Other states require that children under the age of 1 ride in rear-facing car seats.
Most states require child safety restraint use until at least age 7. In most states, drivers can be pulled over for child safety restraint violations alone, but in others drivers can only be ticketed for seat belt use violations if they are already stopped for another reason, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Fines for violations range from $10 to $500, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
While there is no nationwide legal standard for child safety restraints, the National Transportation Safety Board's SaferCar.gov website recommends that children under the age of 3 ride in a rear-facing car seat and that children under the age of 7 ride in a seat with a harness until they outgrow the seat's height and weight limits. From ages 8 to 12, children are safest when they ride in a booster seat unless they are physically large enough to use a standard seat belt. Children under the age of 12 are recommended to ride in the back seat of the car, notes the American Academy of Pediatrics.