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Frequently Asked Questions


What is the child passenger safety law in Minnesota?

Minnesota law requires children age 7 and under to ride in a child safety seat or booster seat, unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller.


Where can I go to have my car seat inspected?

Find a car seat check near you.


What if my vehicle doesn't have a seat belt?

If your vehicle did not come with a factory installed seatbelt (usually those vehicles manufactured before January 1, 1965), then your vehicle is exempt from the seat belt and child passenger safety law. There would not be a safe way to transport your child in this case.


What is the fine for not securing my child in a child safety seat?

The fine is $50, but with additional administrative fees the total amount can be more than $100.


Can I transport my child in my pickup?

Yes, as long as your vehicle has proper seat belts or LATCH anchors to correctly install a child safety seat. If the pick up does not have a back seat and has an active airbag that can't be turned off, you could not safely transport a child in a rear-facing restraint.


Can my child sit in the front seat?

Minnesota does not have a law prohibiting this. It is considered safest and the best practice to keep children in the back seat until they reach age 13. Some states do prohibit transporting children in the front seat until they are 13 years old. If traveling to other states, be aware of their child passenger safety laws.


Can I use a second-hand seat?

Yes, as long as the seat is not more than six years old; it's free of recalls; has not been involved in a crash; all the labels are on the seat; the instruction manual is present; you know the individual who previously owned the seat; and you know the history of the seat. Purchasing seats from garage sales and re-sale shops are not recommended.


When can I turn my child from a rear-facing to forward-facing seat?

Children must be over 1 year and 20 pounds or more before they can face forward. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends as the best safety practice that children remain rear-facing up until 2 years if possible. Most convertible seats have a rear facing weight limit up to 45 pounds.


Why don't school buses have seat belts?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are statistically much safer (nearly 8 times safer) than passenger vehicles and only account for 0.2 percent of fatal crashes. Here are a few reasons why this is true:

  • School buses are larger and heavier, which means that the mass and weight of the bus is designed to take the bulk of the crash force. They are also far less likely to rollover in a crash.
  • School buses must be federally regulated to provide for compartmentalization. Compartmentalization means that the interior of large school buses must provide occupant protection so that children are protected without the need to buckle up. This is done through strong, closely spaced seats, energy absorbing foam seat backs, and a 24-inch seat height. It's easier to visualize this if you think about an egg carton and how it protects the eggs.
  • The chassis of the school bus is designed to separate from the body of the bus in a crash to slow down and spread the crash forces over the entire body of the bus.


When can my child start using a booster seat?

Children should remain in a harnessed restraint for as long as the height and weight limit on the seat allow. Ideally, children should not transition into a booster seat until they are at least 4 years old.


Does Minnesota have a recycling program for child safety seats?

Yes. Contact the county or city you live in to find out if they recycle car seats or visit this website

Locations to drop off child safety seats for recycling include:

  1. ATHC's Eco-Site
    676 Industrial Blvd., Watertown, MN
    Please call (952) 955-1130 for drop off hours.
  2. McLeod County Solid Waste
    1065 5th Avenue SE
    Hutchinson, MN 55350
    (800) 355-0575 or (320) 484-4300
    Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

       3.  McLeod County 
            830 E 11th Street
            Glencoe, MN 55336

           Special Instructions: The GreenSeats program offers free recycling of children’s car seats. 
           Please bring seats in during business hours, Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (except on 
           government holidays). There are also 24/7 recycling baskets available for after-hour and weekend 

       4.  Stearns, Benton and Sherburne Counties
            3601 5th Street South
            Waite Park, MN 56387

            Special Instructions: Stearns, Benton and Sherburne County residents can drop off their used car
            seats at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility at 3601 5th Street South in Waite Park. Hours of 
            operation are Monday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Tuesday through Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, and the 3rd 
            Saturday of each month from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm.
       5.  Wright County
            (763) 682-7354
            Contact: Jill Hylla 
            Compost and Recycling Facility
            505 County Road 37 NE
            Buffalo, MN 55313

           Special Instructions: Straps and covers do not need to be removed, and there is no fee for
           recycling.  The Compost and Recycling Facility is open Tuesdays 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Thursdays
           9:00 am – 6:00 pm, and the 2nd Saturday of month from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm.