Guideline of the 2022 Iowa Car Seat Laws You Need to Know

According to the recent data collections, Iowa is the fourth high rate state in child death from car crashes.

Unfortunately, road crashes takeaway many young lives daily, and only in Iowa, nearly 4 out of 100,000 children die in vehicle collisions each year.

The leading cause of death is the improper use of restraint systems or neglect of using one.

On the bright side, there is a way we can put a stop at this.

By understanding traffic laws, you can educate yourself on Iowa car seat laws and learn how to protect your children during the ride adequately.

Car Seat Law In Iowa

The car seat law in Iowa states that under 1-year olds who weigh less than 20 pounds need to be secured in a rear-facing car seat.

The seat in use needs to meet all the requirements and be appropriate for the child's age and weight.

Iowa Law does not include school buses or motorcycles as motor vehicles required to follow the rear-faced restraint system.

1. Rear-Facing Car Seat

iowa car seat laws front seat

As stated previously, children from 0 to 1 weighing less than 20 pounds must be in rear-faced restraint systems.

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advises that infants from the age of 0 to 2 should be kept in a rear-facing seat during transportation.

If you do need to use a rear-faced seat, make sure it meets all federal regulations.

By this, we mean that it's installed properly and contains a 5-point harness that safely restrains the child.

2. Forward-Faced Seats

As the child approaches the age of 2 and surpasses 20-pound weight, it's legal to install a car seat forward-faced.

For Iowa, children should stay in forward-faced seats until the age of 6 when they can sit in a booster seat.

You would have to consult with the seat manufacturer and see if your child is old enough and weighs enough for a forward-faced seat.

From the recent recommendations given out by health and safety technicians, the child should remain in a forward-facing seat until the age of four.

3. Booster Seat Law

The Iowa law approves booster seats.

However, it does not state that age a child should use this type of seat.

When you choose a booster seat, make sure it consists of both lap and seat belts.

One belt does not go without the other in this scenario. Booster seats have to follow two types; they can either be backless or with headrest.

Backless booster seats are only suitable if your car already has a headrest that supports the child's head and back.

If a car crash occurs, the children's back has to be protected by all means, and this is why you should first consider the headrest size and whether it offers optimal protection.

On the other side, there are boosters with headrests.

Contrary to backless models, you can use these if your car doesn't have a proper headrest or feel that the headrest isn't safe enough for the child.

They have to be in full-sized seats that include headrest protection. If not, severe injuries can take place.

Moreover, health organizations recommended that children satisfy specific criteria before placing them in a booster seat.

When they lay back, their back has to be against the seat of the car while their feet rest on the floor.

If they do not fit properly in the booster seat, you should stick to forward-faced ones for a while.

Focusing on weight and height parameters can often be a secure indicator if the child is ready for specific restraint systems.

4. Front Seat Dilemma

Based on the recommendations, it is allowed the child to ride up front after the age of twelve.

However, this is not always a secure option.

The safest option is to secure them in the back as long as possible.

Can You Leave a Child Alone in the Car in Iowa?

As you can notice, Iowa does not have a law regarding this topic.

However, they do have a child endangerment law that could apply to the situation in question.

"Denial of critical care" states that the lack of responsibility of the person in charge of the child care is to provide adequate shelter, food, clothing, or any other form of necessities.

Denial of critical care has several genres, which you can look at in the link we provided.

Is Smoking in the Car Illegal?

The Iowa law does not forbid smoking in the vehicle with child passengers.

However, it is strongly advisable to reduce secondhand smoke exposure whenever possible.

Children are vulnerable to this kind of exposure since they do not have control over the situation.

As the person responsible for secondhand smoke exposure, you could make your children's environment healthier and safer.

Infants are susceptible to smoke exposure since it proved to affect sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Does the Car Seat Law Apply to Taxis?

iowa child car seat laws

The taxi service in Iowa is not responsible for car seats. They are not obliged to offer one.

Therefore, it is in the guardians' or parents' responsibility to provide a suitable restraint system.

According to the law, parents deal with charges for negligence, not the driver.

Seat Belt Law in Iowa

18-year-olds and older can ride in the front seat with a seat belt.

When using a standard seat belt, provide proper installation for the lap and shoulder belt.

Meaning, the lap belt must go over the lap and not the stomach or waist, and the shoulder belt fits over the shoulder area, not the neck or underarm.

The same set of rules apply if you are installing a booster seat for the first time.

Ensuring that the belt is aligned correctly and protecting the right area is just as essential as installing a place.

In Iowa, authorities can fine you over $50 if you are not wearing a seatbelt.

The same law applies to drivers as well as passengers who will be charged separately.

However, the law differs in some cases.

If the child cannot wear a belt for health reasons, you will need to deliver a signed doctor's letter explaining the condition.

The Iowa authorities take responsibility for keeping the drivers and passengers safe throughout the ride.

These laws are there to obey until the law states otherwise. It is in your care as a parent to keep the youngest ones safe in transportation.

Car Seat Help


After reading the laws in Iowa regarding car seats, you should be prepared to have a safe trip with children.

Make sure you provide an adequate restraint system for the little ones in the back and keep them safe throughout your stay in Iowa.

Avatar of Kathy Warner

Kathy Warner

Kathy is a busy mother of two and a CPS technician for more than eight years. Her mission is to awaken parents to the importance of child passenger safety and show them the right practice. You can read more about her here

1 thought on “Guideline of the 2022 Iowa Car Seat Laws You Need to Know”

  1. So what about vehicles without a back seat? As in pick
    Up or spirts car.
    Can a 6 year old just use the regular seatbelt? Note, a car seat will not fit.


Leave a Comment