In Indiana alone, 3,989 children from birth to age 15 died in motor vehicle accidents in 2011, according to “Indiana 2011 Traffic Safety Facts.” The Department of Transportation believes that the proper use of child restraint devices is the most effective tool to prevent injuries and death in a motor vehicle crash. When your child grows out of her harnessed safety seat, she will need to move into a booster seat according to the specific age, weight and height requirements found in Indiana code 9-19-11.
Once your child reaches age 4, he can move into a booster seat, but The State of Indiana recommends he remain in his harnessed seat until he exceeds the height or weight limit of the seat. Remaining in a harnessed seat as long as possible is also recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. A child who rides in a motor vehicle in the state of Indiana must remain in a booster seat until he reaches age 8.
In addition to the age requirement, according to Indiana law, your child must also weigh at least 30 pounds before she can move into a booster seat. While 30 pounds is the bare minimum a child must weigh before moving to a booster seat, Indiana State Troopers recommend you wait until your child is at least 40 pounds before moving her to a booster seat.
Types of Booster Seats
As a parent, you have two choices for a booster seat: no-back and high-back. No-back booster seats travel easily and consist of just a bottom portion to add height to your child while in a motor vehicle. No-back booster seats position the lap belt properly by passing the belt under the handles of the seat. This type of booster provides no neck or side protection for your child. A high-back booster adds the same height to your child as a no-back booster but also offers head, neck and side protection. Many forward-facing car seats are capable of converting to a high-back booster by removing the harness straps. A high-back booster is often a better choice for children who frequently sleep in the car, as the side protection provides a place to rest his head.
The state of Indiana assesses a penalty to drivers who violate the child restraint laws in place. Violation of code 9-19-11 is a class D infraction and carries a fine of $25 as of time of publication, and the application of points to your license. The only exceptions to the child restraint law in Indiana are a medical exemption -- with an accompanying note from a doctor -- children who ride on public transit, emergency vehicles and when a child is riding to and from a funeral in a vehicle used for the operation of funeral services.