Child Passenger Safety

Missouri car seat safety laws require children under age four to ride in a federally approved car seat or booster seat. Children over age four but under 15 must be buckled in with a seat belt. Missouri law also prohibits children under age 18 from riding in an unenclosed truck bed.

Safety Seats

A rear-facing infant seat should not be used in a front passenger seat equipped with an air bag. The back of the rear-facing safety seat is located very close to the dashboard, where the air bag is housed. The air bag could hit the back of the safety seat very hard, and this could seriously injure the baby's head and brain.

Types of Child Safety Seats

Infant seats are designed for children up to 20 pounds and place the infant facing rearward in a semi-reclined position.

Convertible seats are designed for children up to 40 pounds. They recline and face rearward in infant position, and convert to sit upright and face forward for toddler position. Driving or riding in an automobile can be dangerous.

Booster seats are designed for children who have outgrown other safety seats and can be used with an adult lap and shoulder belt.

Lap/Shoulder belts are designed for children age eight or older or 70 pounds or more. Make sure the lap belt stays low and snug across the hips without riding up over the stomach, and the shoulder belt does not cross the face or front of the neck.

Children ages four 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 for non-compliance.

Persons less than 18 years of age operating or riding in trucks (regardless of gross weight for which licensed) must wear seatbelts. 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 lbs. on lettered highways, federal and state maintained highways, and within city limits. There are exemptions for agricultural purposes, special events, and parades.

Nationally, motor vehicle crashes kill tens of thousands of drivers and passengers and injure nearly two million each year. The chance of being in an auto crash in your lifetime is virtually 100 percent. On average, you'll be in a traffic crash every 10 years, and you have a one in 50 chance of being killed.

The safest place for a child under 12 years of age to be secured is in the rear seat.

The worst possible place for a child to ride is in the arms of an adult. An unrestrained adult can literally crush a child against the dashboard.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have child passenger protection laws.

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