Missouri’s child car seat laws make the driver responsible for securing any child under the age of 16 in an appropriate child restraint system. But unlike many other states, Missouri has very specific requirements for the kind of system you must use.
Child car seats work, and you should select one that complies with the law while protecting your child. The failure to use a car seat or select the right car seat for your child will expose them to a risk of injury or death in a car accident.
How Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After an Accident in St. Louis
Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers was founded in 2010 to represent accident victims against those who cause their injuries, and over the past 12 years, the firm has recovered over $100 million in injury compensation for its clients.
Our car accident lawyers in St. Louis have over 100 years of combined experience. Over their careers, they have earned the following honors and recognitions for their legal skills and knowledge:
- Listing as one of the Best Law Firms by U.S. News & World Report
- Recognition as Missouri’s Best in Compensation Law by Missouri Magazine
- Induction into the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for winning or settling cases in excess of $1 million
The injuries to your child that result from a car accident in Missouri can go on to cause lifelong health issues and disabilities.
To discuss the compensation you can seek after a car accident that disables or otherwise harms your child, contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.
How Common Are Child Car Seat Laws?
Every state has a child car seat law in place, but they have varying requirements. Some states provide specific guidance on the car seat required. Other states place the responsibility for selecting the right child car seat on the parents.
Missouri releases crash statistics that describe the total number of children involved in traffic accidents. In 2020, 2.3% of children involved in Missouri car accidents were unrestrained.
Overview of Missouri Child car seat Laws
Missouri law places the responsibility for securing children on the driver. If they fail to secure any child under the age of 16 in compliance with the law, the police can cite the driver.
The Missouri child car seat statute sets up four main requirements:
- All children aged three or younger must be secured in a car seat
- Children under 40 pounds, regardless of age, must be secured in a car seat
- Children aged four through seven can either use a booster seat or remain in a car seat if they weigh between 40 and 80 pounds and are at least four feet, nine inches tall
- Children weighing at least 80 pounds or who are taller than four feet, nine inches can use the car’s seat belts or remain in a booster seat
The Missouri child car seat law uses the term “appropriate for the child,” which leaves some discretion to the parents in selecting the child’s restraint.
Child car seat Best Practices
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should use the flexibility in Missouri’s law to pick a car seat that provides the greatest protection for their children.
Rear-Facing Car Seat
A rear-facing car seat requires the child to rest on their back with their head pointing toward the front of the vehicle, and the seat supports the child’s head and neck.
Parents should use rear-facing car seats for their kids for as long as possible. In most cases, this means the child will ride in the rear-facing seat for at least their first year and possibly longer if they still fit into the seat.
Front-Facing Car Seat
A front-facing car seat has a five-point harness that secures the child from getting ejected from the seat while also supporting the child’s back and head.
Children should remain in a front-facing seat for as long as they fit in it. Many manufacturers create seats that hold children up to 65 pounds.
A booster seat lifts the child high enough that the car’s seat belt crosses the child’s chest instead of their neck. Since the booster seat places children into the best position for seat belt usage, they should stay in the booster until they are tall enough to use the seat belt safely.
Liability for Child Injuries
Missouri uses comparative negligence to allocate fault after a car accident. If you fail to secure your child properly, you might contribute to the cause of their injuries and be unable to recover all of your losses from the at-fault driver.
For example, suppose the at-fault driver was 80% responsible, and you were 20% responsible for your child’s injuries. You would only receive 80% of the damages from the at-fault driver in an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers
A child can suffer severe injuries in a car accident even while using a car seat. Contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your options for recovering injury compensation for your child’s car accident injuries.