Idaho Car Seat Laws: What You Need to Know

As per the Idaho Transportation Department, thousands of crashes occur on Idaho roads each year. The law enforcement officers gathered information on the possible factors contributing to the crash, including the environment, vehicle, or personal information. 

Among these aspects, a large percentage of serious injuries and deaths were accounted for by unrestrained passengers. What makes the condition worse is that a number of the affected passengers are children.

The five years of ITD data showed that one of the highest fatalities and serious injuries belongs to the age group below 15 years old, primarily associated with unrestrained or improperly restrained children. Thus, Idaho has put up guidelines on the proper use of restraint systems to ensure safety and prevent serious injuries or even deaths. 

Be a responsible parent! Know Idaho car seat laws and safety car seat guidelines and be one with the ultimate goal of "zero deaths."

Idaho's Child Restraint Law

According to the Idaho Code 49-672, the passenger safety for children states that:

"No noncommercial motor vehicle operator shall transport a child who is six (6) years of age or younger in a motor vehicle manufactured with seat belts after January 1, 1966, unless the child is properly secured in a child safety restraint that meets the requirements of federal motor vehicle safety standard no. 213."

Idaho's Child Restraints Basics

idaho infant car seat laws

The following child restraints recommendations should be followed to ensure the safety of children during transport.

1. Rear-Facing Seat

A child should ride in a rear-facing position until two years of age or until the highest weight and height limit has been reached, based on the manufacturer's recommendation.

This is the safest position, especially for infants, since there is a lower risk of injuring the fragile body. In case of a crash, the rear-facing seat will absorb the most impact, thus lesser injury.


2. Forward-Facing Seat

A child should ride a forward-facing seat once the rear-facing car seat is outgrown. It can be used until the highest height, and the weight limit has been reached, approximately around four years old and 40 to 65 pounds.

Also, the top tether should be used until the child weighs 40 pounds.


3. Booster Seat

A child should ride a booster seat from approximately four to eight years old or at 4'9" in height. It is also recommended to use a high back or backless belt-positioning booster, depending on the vehicle type.

The lap belt only seating position should not be used together with a booster seat. Instead, a child should ride in one shoulder harness seating position to ensure that the chest and collar bone are protected.


4. Adult Seat Belt

A child eight years old or older or at least 4'9" in height can use an adult seat belt without any booster seat.

The lap belt must lay across the child's upper thighs while the shoulder belt should cross the child's chest. Also, the child's knees should bend at the seat's edge.

Penalties for Violations

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Idaho's Child Restraint Law is considered to be a primary law. There is a fine of $84.00 for the failure to restrain a child in a car safety seat. Any subsequent violations will carry out a penalty of $90.00.

However, the failure to use a child restraint system shall not be used as evidence for any civil action concerning negligence.

Exemption to the Law

The provisions under Idaho's rule of the road are not applicable on the following occasions.

  • If all the vehicle's seat belts are in use. Then the child should be placed in the rear seat of the car if there is any.
  • If the child requires nursing from the mother or any immediate physiological needs.

Emergency vehicles and mail carriers are also exempted from using child restraint requirements. Children with medical needs can also get an exemption as long as there is a written letter from a licensed physician.

Frequently Asked Questions

idaho child car seat laws

1. Can a Child Occupy the Front Seat?

A child around the age of 14 can sit in the front seat of the vehicle. One must ensure that the lap belt lies across the child's upper thighs, shoulder belts across the child's chest, and knees bend at the seat's edge.


2. Are Car Seats Required on Public Transports?

Seat belts are not required on buses. However, school bus drivers must attend specific training and acquire a CDL license with two endorsements - one for school bus driving and one for driving with passengers.

Meanwhile, seat belts are needed when riding taxis. If the taxi doesn't have a car seat unit, then the adult should supply one.


3. Is It Allowed to Smoke with a Child On Board?

No law in Idaho prohibits smoking in a car with a child passenger.

Idaho Child Passenger Safety Programs and Partners

idaho car seat regulations

1. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - Pocket Card

To provide parents and caregivers basic recommendations on the basic child restraint system, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) created a Pocket Card. This features different restraint types and positions based on the child's age, weight, and height.

The Pocket Card is free. Click here for more information.


2. The "We Have A Little Emergency" Program

The WHALE Program is a helpful tool to help identify children involved in vehicle crashes. This will give a child instant identification in a car safety seat if an adult companion is injured or unable to talk. 

The WHALE Kit includes the following:

  • An Identification Card
    This contains the photograph of a child and other vital information such as the child's name, date of birth, pertinent medical condition, and contact person in case of emergency.
  • WHALE Seat Stickers
    It includes two stickers featuring a WHALE logo, which should be attached to each side of the safety seat.
  • WHALE Window Stickers
    It includes two stickers featuring a WHALE logo, which should be attached to the lower rear corner of the vehicle's windows.

Be sure to enroll children in the WHALE Program. Contact the Idaho Department of Highway Safety for more information.


3. St. Luke's Children's Car Seat Program

Car seats are often overlooked as they cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Good thing, the St. Luke's Children's Car Seat Program aims to provide various sized car seats to those in need by decreasing certain costs.

For a more affordable car seat, inquire at St. Luke's Children's Car Seat Program


4. Child Safety Seat Check Sites

To ensure that the child's safety seat is in good condition, have it checked and re-checked by a trained professional. With the Car Seat Inspection, there is a higher chance of escaping injury in the event of a crash. 

If there are no available sites, click here to ask for help.

Final Thoughts

The Idaho Transportation Department always stands by the mantra "Your Safety, Your Mobility, Your Economic Opportunity."

As a good citizen and responsible parents of Idaho, do your part, get to know Idaho car seat laws, and always practice the Four Key Child Safety Steps:

  1. 1
    Restrain your children on every trip.
  2. 2
    Keep your children on the back seat until they are 13 years old.
  3. 3
    Use the appropriate safety seat for your children.
  4. 4
    Follow instructions on how to use safety seats correctly.