North Dakota Car Seat Laws 2022 (Rear, Forward & Booster)

north dakota car seat laws

North Dakota car seat laws require all children under 8 years old and less than 57 inches in height to be restrained in a federally-approved child restraint system. 

This is not required if the child is being transported in an emergency situation. The driver will be penalized for any violation of the law. 

Disclaimer: This content does not constitute legal advice. It is solely for informational purposes. Always check the original source of the law for the latest version.

North Dakota Car Seat Laws

North Dakota Rear-Facing Car Seat Law 

There is no specific rear-facing car seat law in North Dakota. The law simply states that children younger than 8 years and shorter than 57 inches must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system. (1)

A child restraint must meet federal standards set by the US Department of Transportation. There is no need for a child restraint if the child is being transported in an emergency situation. 

The rear-facing car seat age in North Dakota is absent. It is best to follow the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). As per these, children should ride rear-facing in an infant car seat for at least till the age of 2 years. 

A violation of the North Dakota rear-facing child seat law carries a penalty of $25. 

Age: Newborn to 2 years (recommended)
Height: Shorter than 57 inches
Penalty: $25

North Dakota Forward-Facing Car Seat Law

There is no forward-facing car seat law in North Dakota. The law requires a child younger than 8 years and shorter than 57 inches to be safely secured in a federally approved child restraint. (1) 

In the absence of a North Dakota forward-facing child seat law, you should follow the best practices. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends keeping children in a forward-facing seat after they have outgrown the height or weight limits of their rear-facing seats. 

The legally mandated forward-facing car seat age in North Dakota is absent. But it is best if children ride forward-facing till they reach the upper limits of the seat as prescribed by the manufacturer. 

Violating the North Dakota child seat laws carries a fine of $25. The driver’s license will be assessed one point. 

Age: Younge than 8 years
Height: Shorter than 57 inches
Penalty: $25

North Dakota Booster Seat Law

The child booster seat law in North Dakota is absent. But North Dakota state law mandates that a child less than 8 years of age and shorter than 57 inches be restrained in a child restraint system. (1) It must meet federal safety standards. 

As per the NHTSA recommendations, children should ride in booster seats once they outgrow the maximum height or weight specifications of their forward-facing seats. A booster seat can either be a high-back and backless booster seat. 

The booster seat age in North Dakota is not mentioned. But the North Dakota Department of Health states that children should be at least 4 years old and at least 40 pounds for a booster seat. (2)

Disobeying North Dakota booster seat requirements carries a fine of $25 and one demerit point to the driver’s license. 

Age: Younger than 8 years
Height: Shorter than 57 inches
Penalty: $25

North Dakota Child Front Seat Law

There is no child front seat law in North Dakota. The North Dakota Department of Health states that all children younger than 13 years should ride in the backseat. (2) This is also recommended by the AAP, as children are safer in the backseat. 

While the front seat age in North Dakota is not mentioned in the law, it is best to follow the requirements listed by the State’s Department of Health. 

If absolutely necessary, a child can ride in the front seat in a forward-facing car seat. The car seat must be appropriate for the child’s height and weight. The vehicle seat must be pushed as far back from the airbag as possible. For a child in a rear-facing seat, the front seat airbag must be deactivated

Age: 13+ years (recommended)

North Dakota Child Seat Belt Law

According to the child seat belt law in North Dakota, children aged 8 through 17 years must be secured in a seatbelt in the front or backseat. Those under 8 years of age but at least 57 inches tall can also wear a seat belt. (1)  

Seat belt rules in North Dakota do not apply to vehicles that were not equipped with seat belts at the time of manufacture or if the child is being transported in an emergency situation, or if all front seat belts are occupied.

These requirements also do not apply if a passenger has a medical or physical condition that does not allow them to wear an adult safety belt. 

Not wearing a seat belt under North Dakota children’s seat belt law is punishable with a fine of $25.

Age: 8 through 17 years
Height: 57 inches or taller
Penalty: $25

North Dakota Taxi Child Seat Law

According to the taxi child seat law in North Dakota, taxis are required to have a child passenger safety system in place. The only vehicles exempt are those that were not equipped with safety belts at the time of manufacture. (1)

The taxi driver is responsible for providing a taxi child seat in North Dakota. It should be federally approved and installed as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Instead of a separate rear-facing, forward-facing, or booster seat, the driver can have an all-in-one seat that serves all purposes. As parents and caregivers, you should check if the car seat is appropriate before traveling with your child in a taxi. 

Any violation of the child seat requirements in North Dakota will attract a fine of $25. The driver’s license will be assessed one point. 

North Dakota Ridesharing Child Seat Law

The ridesharing child seat law in North Dakota is not clear. Car seat laws in North Dakota require children younger than 8 years and shorter than 57 inches to be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system. (1)

The driver is responsible for ensuring that all child passengers are properly secured. 

However, the law does not mention ridesharing services such as Uber or Lyft. In this scenario, the best option is for either the driver or the parents/caregivers to provide a child seat. 

Infants should be placed in a rear-facing car seat till the age of 2. Once they outgrow the seat, they can move to a forward-facing seat.

After they cross the maximum height and weight limits of the forward-facing seat, they should ride in booster seats with a seat belt. 

North Dakota Child Seat Replacement Law

There is no definite child seat replacement law in North Dakota. But a car seat should be replaced after it has expired or been damaged in an accident. 

The NHTSA recommends child seat replacement after an accident, especially after a moderate or severe crash. In case of a low-impact accident, there is no urgent need to replace the child safety seat.

A low impact crash is where no passenger is injured, the door nearest to the car seat is not damaged and the seat itself shows no visible damage.

Apart from replacing the seat after an accident in North Dakota, you must also replace it after it has expired or. It must not be used beyond the period stated by the manufacturer. If the seat has been recalled, you should replace it immediately. 

Leaving Child in The Car in North Dakota

There is no law on leaving a child in a vehicle in North Dakota. However, leaving a child unattended in a vehicle is extremely dangerous. The most common danger is heat stroke. 

The temperature inside the vehicle can increase rapidly. Since children’s bodies heat up faster than adults, they are at great risk of suffering a heat stroke. Other dangers include kidnapping, setting the car in motion, getting strangled by seat belts or power windows, or having some other in-car accident. 

Even though leaving a child in the car in North Dakota is not technically illegal, the North Dakota Department of Human Services warns against doing so. Its guidelines state if and how children can be left unsupervised for a small duration. Ultimately, the parent/caregiver will be responsible for the child. 

Choosing a Child Car Seat in North Dakota

When choosing a car seat in North Dakota, you can refer to the best practices of the North Dakota Department of Health. (2) These are in accordance with North Dakota car seat regulations. 

From the time your child is born till they are at least 2 years old, a rear-facing car seat is the best car seat to use in North Dakota. They can then move to a forward-facing seat with a harness.

After they outgrow the height and weight limits of these seats, they should use booster seats. A high-back or backless seat is the best booster seat to use in North Dakota. 

Car Seat Installation Help in North Dakota

Child passenger safety seats in North Dakota must be installed as per the manufacturer’s instructions. It can be a tedious task.

To help you with car seat installation, North Dakota has different stations with certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technicians.

You can get your car seat checked or installed and also learn more about child passenger safety. Some of the stations where you can get assistance with car seat installation are:

North Dakota Car Seat Safety Resources

  • North Dakota Department of Health
  • Vision Zero: The official traffic strategy of the North Dakota government, it aims to reduce the number of motor accident fatalities to zero. 
  • Restraint Use in North Dakota- CDC: A fact sheet by the CDC that provides statistics and best practices to increase the use of car seats and seat belts in North Dakota. 
  • Safe Kids Bismarck-Mandan: Led by Sanford Bismarck, it works toward implementing injury prevention programs for kids. 
  • Altru Health System: As the leading organization of Safe Kids Grand Forks, it conducts car seat checks and workshops for parents and caregivers to prevent childhood injuries. 

FAQ

How long should a child ride in a rear-facing car seat in North Dakota? 

The law is silent. But the North Dakota Department of Health recommends that a child ride in a rear-facing car seat till the age of 2 years. 

Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat in North Dakota?

It is best to put a rear-facing car seat in the back. If you do put it in front, the front seat airbag must be deactivated. 

Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the middle rear seat in North Dakota?

You can put a rear-facing car seat in the middle rear seat, but it must fit properly. Check the car seat as well as your vehicle’s manuals.

When can a baby face forward in a car seat in North Dakota?

A baby child can face forward after they have outgrown the height and weight limits of their rear-facing seat. This typically happens around 2 years of age.

How old for a booster seat in North Dakota?

There is no specific legal age. But children should ride in a booster seat once they outgrow their forward-facing seat according to its manufacturing limits. 

When to use a backless booster seat in North Dakota?

You can use a backless booster seat if your vehicle seat has a headrest and the child’s ears are not higher than the seat back. 

When can a child sit in the front seat with a booster in North Dakota?

Children should ideally ride in the backseat. But if it is unavoidable, they can ride in the front seat with a booster with the seat pushed far back from the dashboard. 

When can a child stop using a booster seat in North Dakota?

A child can stop using a booster seat when they turn 8 years old or reach 57” in height, whichever occurs first. They can then start using the seatbelt. 

When can a child sit in the front seat in North Dakota?

Children are safer in the backseat of the vehicle. But they can sit in the front seat with its airbag deactivated if it is absolutely necessary. 

When to switch from 5 point harness to a seat belt in North Dakota?

When the child outgrows the height and weight limits of the 5-point harness, they can switch to wearing a seat belt in a booster seat. 

When can a child use a regular seat belt in North Dakota?

Under the law, a child can start using a regular seat belt once they are 8 years old or stand at least 57” tall (regardless of age). 

Do you need a car seat in a taxi in North Dakota?

Yes, you need a car seat in a taxi in North Dakota. The driver will be responsible if the child is not properly secured in an appropriate child restraint.  

Do you need a car seat in a Uber in North Dakota?

The law is silent on this issue. But either the parent, caregiver, or driver should provide a federally approved and appropriate car seat for the child. 

Do you need a car seat in a Lyft in North Dakota?

The law is not clear on this issue. But either the caregiver or the driver should provide an appropriate car seat to ensure the child’s safety.

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