All 50 states and also the District of Columbia have some type of child restraint laws, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These laws require children travel in approved booster seats and child restraint devices and older children to use adult seat belts.
Each state differs when it comes to the age in which seat belts can be used instead of child restraints, states the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Younger children are usually covered under the child seat and restraint laws, but older children and adults are covered by seat belt laws.
It is important for individuals to know which law is being violated when a child is not properly restrained, because fines and enforcement differ under seat belt and child seat laws. Most child restraint laws are primary, which means a police officer can stop vehicles for just child seat violations. Ohio and Nebraska's child seat laws are secondary, which means the police must have an additional reason to stop a vehicle besides a child seat violation. However, Nebraska's law is secondary for children who only may be in seat belts but primary for children who must be in child seats. Ohio's secondary law applies only to children who are between the ages of 4 to 14, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.