Why You Need to Know 2020 Minnesota Car Seat Laws

Are you aware that nearly 1.3 million people die in car crashes worldwide every year? If the number is hard to comprehend, look at it this way; this equals approximately 3.700 deaths a day.

What was once considered to be an impressive human invention now takes millions of lives in highways. Only in Minnesota in 2018, there was an increase of 6% when it comes to car collisions.

We have started the article in not such an optimistic way, but it is essential to know the responsibility once you get behind the wheel. It would be best if you learned how you could protect all passengers, but we are focusing on securing children in restraint systems during a ride.

If you plan a trip to Minnesota or already live there, but you are a newbie parent, you will need to take a look at this guide. We have prepared a helpful article for all of you who want to get acquainted with Minnesota car seat laws and learn how to buckle-up children.

Car Seat Law in Minnesota

minnesota car seat laws front seat

Following the Minnesota car seat law, all children who are over eight years old and taller than 4'9" need to be secured in a proper restraint system designed for their age and weight group.

The restraint systems can include a booster seat or a car seat that is adequate for the vehicle that you are driving. Moreover, all seats need to be federally approved, whether they are secondhand or new ones. They also need to consist of a 5-point harness that is adequately secured and attached.

We find that Minnesota officers are quite strict if you don't follow the law. The driver is responsible for all passengers, whether they are residents of the state or not. So, don't be surprised if you are passing through Minnesota with no seat belt on or proper child restraint, and the authorities stop you.

They take the law seriously, and the fine for this violation is $50.

Of course, there are exceptions to this law. The law is excluded from taxis, medical vehicles, school buses/buses, or airport limos. If they can't be secured in a car seat or a booster for a medical reason, you will need to supply a legitimate doctor's letter.

Rear-facing Seat Law

In Minnesota law, children ages 0-2 weighing 20 pounds should be restrained in a rear-faced vehicle during transportation.

They also recommend that a child stays in the rear-faced seat for as long as they don't reach the weight and height limit necessary for forward-faced ones.

You should always provide a federally approved car seat with a 5-point harness. If the car seat manufacturers have different instructions than the law states, it is best to follow them instead.

If you are unsure, you can secure the child in the recommended car seat until they reach adequate weight and height.

Front-faced Seats

The age gap covering two years old and four years old are allowed to ride in a front-facing car seat. This is permitted if they weigh more than 20 pounds or have the appropriate height. Pay attention to the weight and height limits when planning on transferring to a different type of restraint system.

Once they reach the age of 4, the children are ready for booster seats.

Booster Seats

mn child seat laws

Children age four to eight can ride in the booster seat. Children are also required to reach the 4'9" height. If they don't, then you should not secure them in a booster seat just yet.

For all of our fresh-out the boat parents, you can choose from two types of booster seats:

  • A backless booster needs to be used in vehicles with proper headrest. This is because of your child's neck, back, and head being protected at all times. They need full-size head protection when a car crash occurs.
  • Boosters without headrest are for those whose vehicle does not have a headrest at all. It is known that children suffer from significant injuries if their back and head area is not fully protected during a crash.

They also need to be tall and weigh enough for a booster seat. If they sit in a feet-touching-the-ground position with their back leaning against the car seat, it's the right time for a booster. If not, it's best to restrain the child in a front-faced seat for now.

Front Ride Seat in Minnesota

In Minnesota law, we found nothing that states when children are allowed to ride in the front seat.

However, following the Office of Traffic Safety advice, children should remain to ride in the back seat until the age of 13.

Can You Leave Children Unattended in Minnesota?

There is no law declaring you cannot leave a child unattended alone in the car.

What About Smoking In A Car With A Child Present?

It is not illegal to smoke in vehicles with children present. However, this only applies to private cars. Smoking is forbidden in public transportation, meetings, or places of employment.

It is also illegal in daycare institutions, group family centers, or family homes.

Even though the Minnesota law does not forbid smoking with children present, we would advise you not to do so. You are exposing their undeveloped immune system in great danger.

While many smokers look pass this info, secondhand smoke exposure is linked to several childhood illnesses, including asthma, meningitis, SIDS, or respiratory infections.

Are Taxis Obliged To Follow Car Seat Law in Minnesota?

mn car seat laws 2020

No, taxis are not obliged to follow this law. As we mentioned earlier, taxi rides are among the few vehicles excluded for following the car seat law.

If you plan on taking a taxi ride, especially with an infant, make sure you bring your car seat.

You can find convertible models that switch from rear-faced to front-faced seats in seconds. In this way, you are cutting down the budget while being safe in traffic, even if you are not the driver.

Replacing The Car After An Accident; Is It Necessary?

Minnesota law states that you need to replace the car seat if there had been an accident.

You should always replace it after the crash, no matter if the seat looks intact. The minor damages that are not visible to the naked eye can weaken the child's protection.

Seat Belt Law

In Minnesota, officers are strict with traffic regulations. Since there had been numerous deaths caused by car crashes, security is brought to a higher level.

You would be surprised, but improper installation occurs in 8 out of 10 seats in Minnesota. That leaves with a small percentage of children given the safe ride.

When the child is old enough to ride in the front seat, it is essential always to wear a seat belt. If the driver is driving a 14-year-old not secured with a seat belt, they will receive a fine. Fines usually go from $25 to more than $100, depending on the crime's violation.

Final Words

Minnesota car seat laws have been updated to raise awareness of the tragically lost lives in traffic. We delivered the list of laws you need to follow if you want to provide your child with a safe trip.

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