Posted in News on September 21, 2021
Child safety seats are essential parts of ensuring that young people remain safe in the event a collision occurs. Every state, including Montana, has requirements related to car seats for young children. Here, we want to review what Montana law says about child safety seats. In particular, we will look at the requirements set forth for children depending on their age. Failing to properly secure a child in a car seat can result in significant consequences.
What Are Montana’s Car Seat Requirements?
Montana law requires that all children under the age of 6 and weighing less than 60 pounds be seated in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat. The law goes on to state that the child safety restraint has to be appropriate for the height and weight of the child as indicated by manufacturer standards.
There are only a few exceptions to this rule, including a child who has a medical condition documented from a health care provider stating that they are unable to sit properly in a child safety restraint system.
Are There Penalties For Improperly Securing a Child in Montana?
Yes, there are penalties for parents who fail to properly restrain their child in a restraint system per Montana law. Parents can face a fine of not more than $100 for failing to follow this law.
However, this monetary consequence pales in comparison to what can actually happen if a child is not properly restrained. When a child is involved in a vehicle accident and is not seated in a car safety seat, their risk of injury is significant. It is not uncommon for an improperly restrained child to sustain:
- Broken and dislocated bones
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Severe facial injuries
- Spinal cord trauma
What Are The Benefits of Car Seats?
Studies have shown time and time again that car seats are incredibly valuable tools for child safety. In the United States, motor vehicles are a leading cause of death amongst younger children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a study found that in a single year, more than 618,000 children ages 0 to 12 rode in vehicles without the use of a child safety seat.
The CDC also says that child restraint saved tens of thousands of children’s lives over the span of a few decades in the US. They say that:
- Car seats reduce the risk of death for infants under one year of age by 71% and toddlers aged 1 to 4 by 54%.
- Booster seats reduced the risk of serious injury by 45% for children aged 4 to 8 when compared to only seat belt use alone.
- For children and older adults, seat belt use reduces the risk of death and serious injury by around 50%.
It is crucial for parents to purchase and install car seats correctly. We strongly encourage you to go to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) website for extensive information about choosing and installing car safety seats.