Michigan Car Seat Laws 2023 (Rear, Forward & Booster)
Michigan car seat laws require a motor vehicle driver to secure a child under the age of 4 years in a child restraint system.
Children above 4 years of age but less than 8 years old who are shorter than 4’9” have to be secured in a booster seat. Violating the law carries a fine of $10.
Disclaimer: This content does not constitute legal advice. It is solely for informational purposes. Always check the original source of the law for the latest version.
- Front Seat
- Seat Belt
- Taxi Seat
- Ridesharing Seat
- Alone in Car
- Choosing a Seat
- Installation Help
Michigan Car Seat Laws
Michigan Rear-Facing Car Seat Law
There is no definite rear-facing car seat law in Michigan. The child seat requirements in Michigan state that all children under 4 years of age must be properly restrained in an appropriate car seat. (1)
Though the rear-facing car seat age in Michigan is absent, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning recommends keeping children in an infant rear-facing seat till they reach the seat’s maximum limits. (2) The safest option is to keep your child in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible.
Even though there is no specific Michigan rear-facing child seat law, a violation of the above requirements will constitute a civil infraction and attract a maximum penalty of $10. The motor vehicle driver who is transporting the child will have to pay.
Age: Newborn to 2 years (recommended)
Michigan Forward-Facing Car Seat Law
According to the forward-facing car seat law in Michigan, children under 4 years of age have to be secured in a car seat. (1) It must meet the federal motor vehicle safety standards. The forward-facing car seat age in Michigan is 4 years.
However, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning recommends that children continue using a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible till they exceed its maximum weight or height limits. (2)
This is in accordance with the recommendations of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
A violation of Michigan forward-facing child seat law is a civil infraction with a penalty of $10. The court may waive this fine if you can prove, before the date of hearing, that you have purchased, acquired, or rented an appropriate forward-facing seat.
Age: Under 4 years
Michigan Booster Seat Law
According to the child booster seat law in Michigan, children who are 4 years old or older but less than 8 years old and shorter than 4’9” have to be secured in a booster seat. (1)
If your vehicle has head rests, you can choose a backless booster seat.
The booster seat age in Michigan is 4 to 8 years. However, your child should shift to a booster only after they exceed the maximum height or weight limits of their forward-facing seats.
They should continue riding in a booster seat till they reach 4’9” in height or till the seat belt fits snugly across their lap and shoulders.
A violation of Michigan booster seat requirements is a civil infraction and carries a fine of $25. (3)
Age: 4 to 8 years
Height: Shorter than 4’9”
Michigan Child Front Seat Law
According to the child front seat law in Michigan, a child less than 4 years old who is restrained in a car seat must be seated in the backseat of the vehicle, if available. (1)
They may travel in the front seat in a child restraint if all the available rear seats are occupied by children under 4 years of age.
Though the front seat age in Michigan is 4 years; children should ride in the backseat till the age of 13. (2)
If you are carrying your child in the front seat, you must secure them in a car seat that is appropriate for their height and weight requirements.
In the case of a rear-facing seat, the passenger-side airbag must be deactivated, as airbags can injure babies. The vehicle seat must be pushed as far away from the dashboard as possible.
Age: 4+ years
Michigan Child Seat Belt Law
According to the child seat belt law in Michigan, all children who are older than 4 years but younger than 16 years and at least 4’9” tall have to wear an adult safety belt. (4) These requirements apply whether they are in the front seat or the backseat.
Seat belt rules in Michigan do not apply to a child who cannot wear a seat belt due to physical or medical reasons. They must carry a written verification from a licensed physician explaining the reasons for the same.
Michigan children’s seat belt law is a primary law. This means that law enforcement officials can stop you if your child is not wearing a seat belt. A violation of the law is a civil infraction and carries a fine of $25. (3)
Age: 4 to 16 years
Height: Taller than 4’9”
Michigan Taxi Child Seat Law
According to the taxi child seat law in Michigan, taxis are exempt from having a car seat. (1) The taxi driver is not responsible for providing a taxi child seat in Michigan.
As a caregiver, it is best if you carry a federally approved child passenger safety seat that is suitable for your child’s age and height. If your child is a baby under 2 years old, this means a rear-facing seat.
They can then switch to a forward-facing seat with a harness. After they outgrow the maximum limits of the forward-facing seat, they can then ride a booster seat till they are at least 8 years old or 4’9” tall.
Violation of the car seat laws in Michigan is a civil infraction. It carries a penalty of $10.
Michigan Ridesharing Child Seat Law
There is no clear ridesharing child seat law in Michigan. Under the Michigan car seat regulations, all children under the age of 4 years must be secured in a child restraint system. (1)
However, the law does not specify who should provide and install a child seat. Nor does it specify if it applies to ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft.
To avoid violating Michigan child seat laws, it is recommended that either the caregivers or the driver provide an appropriate car seat.
For infants, this means a rear-facing car seat. For young children, a forward-facing car seat or a booster seat is required. Children taller than 4’9” can wear seat belt.
As a parent, you can carry your own car seat and install it in the vehicle with the help of the driver.
Michigan Child Seat Replacement Law
There is no particular child seat replacement law in Michigan. But you must replace the child safety seat if your car is involved in a moderate or severe accident in Michigan.
It may have suffered damage and have defects not visible to the eye. A damaged car seat cannot protect your child from impact.
However, if your vehicle suffered a low-impact accident, there is no need to automatically replace the car seat. A low-impact crash is one that satisfies all five conditions prescribed by the NHTSA.
Apart from child seat replacement after an accident, you must replace the seat if it has been recalled or if it is more than 6 years old. Check the manufacturer’s website and the seat label for more information.
Leaving Child in the Car in Michigan
According to the law on leaving a child in a vehicle in Michigan, it is illegal to leave a child less than 6 years old unattended in a vehicle. (5) They must be under the supervision of someone who is 13 years of age or older and is not legally incapacitated.
There are dangerous consequences of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. Temperatures inside the vehicle can rise rapidly. Since children’s bodies heat up faster than adults, they are at great risk of suffering a heat stroke.
Leaving a child in the car in Michigan is a misdemeanor. The person responsible can be imprisoned for maximum 93 days or fined a maximum $500 or both. If the child suffers physical harm or dies as a result, the person will be subject to imprisonment ranging from1 year to 15 years and a fine between $1,000 to $10,000.
Choosing a Child Car Seat in Michigan
The NHTSA recommendations make choosing a car seat in Michigan easier.
From the time your child is born till they turn at least 2 years old, a rear-facing car seat is the best car seat to use in Michigan. They can then move to a forward-facing seat with a harness. They should ride in them till they reach the maximum height and weight limits as prescribed by the manufacturer.
After they outgrow their forward-facing seat, they should move to booster seats. The best booster seat to use in Michigan is one that props your child up so that the seat belt fits them perfectly.
Car Seat Installation Help in Michigan
Whenever you install child passenger safety seats in Michigan, make sure that they are fixed as per the manufacturer’s instructions. It can be a complex task as you have to refer to both the child seat and car seat manual.
To help you with it, there are certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technicians at different inspection stations. You can get your car seat checked or installed and also learn more about child passenger safety. Some of the stations are:
- Mott Buckle Up!
- Oakland County Child Passenger Safety Program
- Grand Traverse County
- Livingston County Sheriff Department
- Ferndale Fire Department
- Macomb County Sheriff Office
Michigan Car Seat Safety Resources
- Office of Highway Safety Planning: The official website contains the law as well as recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics on car seat safety. It lists the best practices for each type of car seat.
- Michigan State Police: The State Police website has a comprehensive list of common questions on child passenger safety. It has information about the law and additional resources to help you learn more.
- CS Mott Children’s Hospital: A leading hospital of the University of Michigan Health, it provides information about each type of car seat- when and to use them, installation. It also has plenty of valuable text-based and video resources.
How long should a child ride in a rear-facing car seat in Michigan?
Michigan state law does not state an age. But the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning recommends keeping a child in a rear-facing seat till they outgrow its maximum limits.
Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat in Michigan?
No, you cannot put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat in Michigan. It must be placed in the back if the vehicle has a backseat and all seating positions are not occupied by other children.
Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the middle rear seat in Michigan?
You can put a rear-facing car seat in the middle rear seat, but it must fit properly. Check the car seat as well as your vehicle’s manuals.
When can a baby face forward in a car seat in Michigan?
There is no specific age. But a child can face forward after they have outgrown their rear-facing seat. This typically happens around 2 years of age.
How old for a booster seat in Michigan?
Children 4 to 8 years of age can ride in a booster seat. But the ideal time is when they outgrow their forward-facing seat according to its manufacturing limits.
When to use a backless booster seat in Michigan?
You can use a backless booster seat if your vehicle seat has a headrest and the child’s ears are not higher than the seat back.
When can a child sit in the front seat with a booster in Michigan?
Children should ideally ride in the backseat till they are 13 years old. But they can ride in the front seat if the vehicle does not have a backseat or all rear seating positions are occupied by children younger than 4 years.
When can a child stop using a booster seat in Michigan?
A child can stop using a booster seat when they turn 8 years old or reach 4’9” in height. They can then wear a seat belt.
When can a child sit in the front seat in Michigan?
Under the law, children older than 4 years can ride in the front seat. However, they are safer in the backseat and should ride there till the age of 13 years.
When to switch from 5 point harness to a seat belt in Michigan?
When the child outgrows the height and weight limits of the 5-point harness, they can switch to wearing a seat belt in a booster seat.
When can a child use a regular seat belt in Michigan?
Under the law, a child who is between 4 to 16 years old or taller than 4’9” (regardless of age) can start using a regular seat belt.
Do you need a car seat in a taxi in Michigan?
Taxis are not required to have a car seat. It is recommended that you carry your own car seat for maximum protection of your child.
Do you need a car seat in a Uber in Michigan?
The law does not mention ridesharing services like Uber. But either the caregiver or the driver should provide a federally approved and appropriate car seat.
Do you need a car seat in a Lyft in Michigan?
The law is not clear on this issue. But either the caregiver or the driver should provide an appropriate car seat to ensure the child’s safety.