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Office of Traffic Safety

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Child Passenger Safety

Child Passenger Restraint Law 

  • All children under age 8 must ride in a federally approved car seat or booster seat, unless the child is 4'9" or taller.

  • Car seats must be used according to the manufacturer's instructions, a child passenger restraint system meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.  

  • It is recommended that all infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seats, as long as possible.  

  • Law applies to all motor vehicles originally equipped with factory-installed seat belts.

  • Law applies to all seating positions.

  • Driver is responsible.

  • Applies to both residents and non-residents of Minnesota.

  • Suspected non-use is a valid basis to stop a motor vehicle.


  • Children riding in emergency medical vehicles, when medical needs make use of a restraint unreasonable

  • Children riding in a motor vehicle for hire, including a taxi, airport limousine or bus, but excluding a rented, leased or borrowed motor vehicle

  • Children riding with a peace officer on official duty, when a restraint is not available (a seat belt must be substituted)

  • Children certified by a licensed physician as having a medical, physical or mental disability that makes restraint use inadvisable

  • Passengers in school buses with a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds.



This law is a minimum safety standard and does not reflect best practices for properly securing children within vehicles.