Nebraska Car Seat Laws For 2021: Safety Rules & Regulations (2022)

As a driver in Nebraska, you must know the Nebraska car seat laws if you’ll have any children in your vehicle. These laws help to keep children safe and prevent you from getting a citation. Nebraska recently updated its laws, and the new rules went into effect in 2019.

However, it’s important to note that the law doesn’t always reflect experts’ recommendations for safest practices. Legislators try to strike a balance between what is safe and what can be enforced. As a result, it’s important to look beyond the law to make sure any children in your car are as safe as possible.

Nebraska Car Seat Laws For 2021: Safety Rules & Regulations (1)

Read on to learn more about the car seat laws in Nebraska to make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest regulations.

Nebraska Car Seat Laws: General Information

Nebraska child seat laws state that all children between infancy and age eight must ride in a properly secured car seat or booster seat that is federally approved. Legislative Bill 42 contains the most recent amendments to Nebraska’s car seat laws. The amendment made changes to make riding in the car even safer for children.

Infant Car Seats

Nebraska Car Seat Laws For 2021: Safety Rules & Regulations (2)

Infant car seats typically refer to the rear-facing base and carrier system, although there are some rear-facing seats for infants that remain in the car. If you’re using a carrier seat, your baby will ride in this seat from birth up to around 30-35 lbs, or when your baby’s head is less than an inch from the top of the seat. Be sure to check your seat’s instructions for exact limits.

(Video) Keeping children safe in crashes: Overview

Nebraska law requires that all infants ride in an appropriate, federally-approved infant seat until they reach the maximum height and weight limits as mandated by the car seat manufacturer.

Rear-Facing Seats

Nebraska Car Seat Laws For 2021: Safety Rules & Regulations (3)

Once infants grow out of an infant seat, they may move to a rear-facing seat. These seats are designed for infants that are too large for the carrier-style seats. Depending on the car seat brand, children can stay in these seats from around 30-50 lbs.

According to Legislative Bill 42, lines 26-29, children under the age of two are required to stay in a rear-facing seat until they reach the maximum height and weight capacity as designated by the car seat manufacturer.

Forward-Facing Seats

Forward-facing seats are designed for larger toddlers who’ve outgrown their rear-facing seats. These seats still use a five-point harness system. Weight limits vary in these seats, but many can hold kids up to 65 lbs and even beyond. As usual, the child’s head should be more than an inch away from the top of the seat.

(Video) Car Seat Safety by Age: Rear-facing Car Seats for Babies

Booster Seats

Nebraska Car Seat Laws For 2021: Safety Rules & Regulations (5)

According to the booster seat laws for Nebraska, kids must be in at least a booster seat up until age eight. Booster seats are made to work with the seatbelt as a harness. They help to position kids so that the seat belt fits properly.

Kids should ride in a booster seat until they’re tall enough to use a seatbelt alone, usually when they’re around 4’9″. Most kids outgrow their booster seats between the ages of eight and 12.

Convertible Car Seats

Nebraska Car Seat Laws For 2021: Safety Rules & Regulations (6)

There are many types of convertible car seats on the market. Some seats accommodate both rear- and forward-facing children. Others are made to last a child throughout their car seat use and will convert to a booster seat.

Nebraska law allows for use of these car seats, as long as they’re federally approved. They must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and children should only move up a step when they’re the appropriate height and weight.

(Video) When to Stop Using a Booster Car Seat - Boys Town Pediatrics & National Safety Council Nebraska

When Can a Child Sit in the Front Seat in Nebraska?

Children under the age of eight are required to sit in the back seat in Nebraska. After age eight, children are allowed to sit in the front seat.

Penalties for Failure to Comply With Nebraska Car Seat Laws

If you’re caught violating one of Nebraska’s car seat laws, you’ll be required to pay a $25 fine. You’ll also receive one violation point on your Nebraska driving record.

Nebraska Car Seat Law Exceptions

Nebraska does have some car seat law exceptions in place to deal with extenuating circumstances.

Kids Under Eight Must Sit in the Rear

While kids under the age of eight are required to sit in the back seat, if there are younger children in the car, those children should fill the backseats first. If there are more children under the age of eight than can fit in the backseat, the oldest child may sit in the front.

Doctor-Approved Exemptions

In some cases, such as a health, medical, or weight issue, a doctor may decide that a child can’t ride in a car seat. In this case, you’ll need a signed approval from the doctor and should keep it in your car at all times.

Parades

If a child is riding in a car for a parade or some other type of exhibition, they’re not required to sit in a car seat. However, the parade must comply with other state and local laws.

(Video) New Child Safety Seat Law

Emergency Vehicles

Emergency vehicle drivers aren’t always required to follow the car seat laws. If a child is in an emergency vehicle and the situation allows them to be in the proper restraint system, then the law should be followed.

However, there are some instances where a child can’t be put in a proper car seat due to an emergency. A seat may not be available or a medical emergency may prevent the use of a seat. In this case, the driver would be exempt from any penalties.

How to Make Sure Your Car Seat Is Correctly Installed

Many parents find it challenging to install a new car seat and worry that they’re not doing it properly. While choosing the correct car seat for a child is important, the correct installation of that seat is equally important. Nebraska has taken measures to help families make sure all car seats are installed properly.

The state sponsors scheduled car seat checks throughout the year. You can take your car seat and have it inspected for proper installation and make sure that it’s the correct seat for your child. Trained car seat technicians will check and install the seat for you. They’ll even make sure your child is buckled in correctly.

What If You Can’t Afford a Car Seat?

The state of Nebraska understands that not everyone can afford the car seat they need, which can lead to unsafe situations. In an attempt to keep residents safe and keep drivers compliant with the law, Nebraska has initiatives to help low-income families get an approved car seat for their children.

In most cases, car seat check stations can apply for a grant to purchase car seats for low-income families. They can then distribute these car seats to families who qualify.

(Video) When can you stop using a Booster Seat | Booster Seat Laws & Regulations Explained | A Mamas Bond

Final Thoughts

Understanding the car seat laws can help you prevent getting a fine in Nebraska. While these laws are in place to keep children safe, it’s important to remember that these laws don’t always reflect the safety suggestions of experts.

Be sure to follow these laws, but also carefully read your car seat’s instructions. Make sure your child maxes out of one type of car seat before moving to the next. Between the laws and other best practices, your child should be safe in the car.

FAQs

What are the car seat requirements in Nebraska? ›

Nebraska Child Safety Restraint Law

All children up to age eight must ride correctly secured in a federally-approved child safety seat. Children ride rear-facing until up to age two or until they reach the upper weight or height limit allowed by the car seat's manufacturer.

What age can you stop using a car seat? ›

Children must normally use a child car seat until they're 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first. Children over 12 or more than 135cm tall must wear a seat belt. You can choose a child car seat based on your child's height or weight.

Which state has the most strict car seat laws? ›

Ohio has the strictest requirement with a minimum height of 4'10” (58 inches / 147.32cm / 1.47m). Whichever US state you are driving in with children in the car, it is wise to check the requirements before you travel to ensure you comply with the law.

Can a child sit in the front seat with a booster seat? ›

It is both legal and relatively safe for the cushions to be used in the front, but it is safer for them to be used in the rear of the car where possible (especially when an airbag is fitted).

Does a 7 year old need a booster seat? ›

Legally, your child must be in an approved child restraint until they're seven years old, but to reduce the risk of injury it's recommended they remain in a booster seat until they can safely fit a vehicle seat and seat belt. Many children need a booster until they're around 12 years old.

How long does the 2 hour car seat rule apply? ›

Many car seat manufacturers recommend that a baby should not be in a car seat for longer than 2 hours, within a 24 hour time period. This is because when a baby is in a semi-upright position for a prolonged period of time it can result in: 1. A strain on the baby's still-developing spine.

Should my 5 year old be in a car seat or booster? ›

Generally, kids are between the ages of 5-9 when they begin to outgrow the weight limitations of a 5-point harness car seat. Before you make the move to a belt-positioning booster seat, make sure your child meets these requirements: Generally, kids weighing over 65 pounds are ready to switch to a booster seat.

Are backless booster seats safe? ›

While high-backs are the safest choice, backless boosters are still much safer than no booster at all, and we can see some legitimate reasons parents might choose a no-back model. For one thing, backless boosters are generally less expensive, some costing as little as $14.

What state wears the seatbelt the most? ›

Hawaii currently has the highest percentage of people who wear seat belts.

What state does not make you wear a seatbelt? ›

New York was the first state to pass a law which required vehicle occupants to wear seat belts, a law that came into effect on December 1, 1984. New Hampshire is the only state that has no enforceable laws for the wearing of seat belts in a vehicle.

Do all 50 states in the US require child safety seats in automobiles? ›

All states and territories require child safety seats for infants and children fitting specific criteria, but requirements vary based on age, weight and height. This happens in three stages: rear-facing; forward-facing (harnessed) seats; and booster seats.

Do you turn the airbag off if a child is in the front? ›

It's OK to leave the airbag active for forward-facing-seats but you should move the car's seat back on its runners as far as it will go. Do check your car handbook for model specific advice though as airbag size and performance does vary.

Can a child sit in the front seat of a car without airbags? ›

We strongly recommend that children sit in the back and remain rear-facing for as long as possible to minimise the risk of injury. However, you are allowed to have them in the front if you use a child seat and follow these safety precautions: Rear-facing child seat – you are required to deactivate all front airbags.

Can a 4 year old sit in a booster seat? ›

Children weighing more than 22kg and taller than 125cm can use a backless booster seat. Children of 12 years old or taller than 135cm do not need to use a child seat. Before this age or height they must do by law. Child seats must be fitted either using ISOFIX mountings or a diagonal seat belt strap.

Should my 6 year old be in a backless booster seat? ›

What car seat should a 6 year old be in? Most 6 year olds are big enough and mature enough to ride in a high back booster seat or even a backless booster seat. If your 6 year old can't sit still in the car or still likes to sleep in the car, it's better to choose a 5-point harness.

What kind of seat should a 7 year old be in? ›

Current California Law:

​Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat. Children who are 8 years of age OR have reached 4'9” in height may be secured by a booster seat, but at a minimum must be secured by a safety belt.

What age do children change to booster seat? ›

4 years until 12 years. Using a high back booster seat instead of only a booster cushion ensures that your child is provided with a side impact protection during the whole period of use.

Can I leave my toddler in the car for 2 minutes? ›

Kids can remain in unattended vehicles for no more than five minutes in Hawaii, Texas, and Utah; you get 10 minutes in Illinois and 15 minutes in Florida. Laws in several other states, including California, specify that children can't be left in a vehicle in dangerous conditions such as hot weather.

Can you leave baby in car for 2 minutes? ›

Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Always lock your car when you're not in it so kids can't get in on their own, and keep keys and remote entry fobs out of kids' sight and reach.

Can a newborn be in a car seat for 2 hours? ›

Lots of parents want to know "how long can babies stay in car seats?" The general advice is that your baby should sit/sleep in their car seat for no more than two hours at a time.

What kind of car seat should a 40 lb child be in? ›

When your child reaches 40 – 45 pounds, you can forward face in the convertible seat until up to around 65 pounds. Be sure to check the weight and height specifications for your specific seat. Although, convertible car seats, on average, will hold your child from 5-65 pounds and include a 5-point harness and tether.

What type of seat should a 5 year old be in? ›

Young children under age 5 or 6 are safer in a 5-point harness car seat. Don't rush to “graduate” your child to a booster seat. If your child still fits in his 5-point harness car seat, leave him there!

Is a backless booster safe for a 5 year old? ›

While any child older than four can legally ride in a backless booster seat, safety experts are more conservative with their recommendations. Car seat experts recommend that children stay in high-back boosters for as long as possible, although older children can use backless seats up to 100 pounds.

Is it safe for a 10 year old to ride in the front seat? ›

While airbags are meant to protect adults from harm in a car crash, they can't protect children sitting in the front seat. As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children ages 13 and under buckle up in the back seat for safety. Some exceptions to this exist.

What weight can a child use a backless booster seat? ›

An average 40-pound child is typically closer to age five, a much safer age to consider making a transition to booster use. And many booster seats that can be used in both a highback and backless configuration have a higher minimum weight limit of 40 pounds when used in the backless mode.

Do all booster seats need to be anchored? ›

A high-backed booster to backless booster may have tethers to clip it to the LATCH anchors in your car. This is not necessary for using the booster seat, but it might be convenient to have your booster seat held in one place. If you're not using LATCH, you can set the booster in the seat where your child will sit.

Can a seatbelt cut you in half? ›

It will only cut off your head in a serious car accident and if it isn't adjusted to fit you comfortably and correctly. So, again this isn't going to happen if you are adjusting it correctly. The facts are that there are only a few people that were decapitated during an accident, because of their seatbelts.

Why do Americans wear seatbelts under their arms? ›

Safety belt use has dramatically increased in the past decade in North America because of safety belt use laws. Underarm use of shoulder belts is a means of relieving neck irritation and other complaints from shoulder belts but may result in serious or fatal injuries.

Who has the lowest rate of seatbelt use? ›

New Hampshire has the lowest seat belt usage rate — by far — at 71%. The state doesn't require drivers 18 and older to buckle up. Hawaii has the highest seat belt usage rate at 97%. Experts estimate that the lives of 325 small children were saved by car seats in the most recent year for which data was available.

Do I need to wear a seatbelt in the backseat? ›

It's the responsibility of the adult passenger (not the driver) to make sure that they are using the seatbelt.

Do backseat passengers have to wear a seat belt? ›

Under Rule 138 (3) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, a person "seated in the front seat or the persons occupying front facing rear seats" is required to wear a seat belt.

What happened to the seat belt rule? ›

Rear seat belts were compulsory equipment from 1986 and became compulsory for them to be worn in 1991. However, it has never been a legal requirement for cars registered before those dates to be fitted with seat belts.

What are the 3 types of child safety seats? ›

a rear-facing car seat, 2. A forward-facing car seat with a harness and then 3. a booster seat.

How much weight do you have to be to sit in the front seat? ›

at least 9 years of age. 4 feet 9 inches in height. 80 lb in weight.

Is it illegal to use an expired car seat in USA? ›

NHTSA says there is no regulation prohibiting parents from using an expired car seat and most states don't say anything about a car seat's expiration in their laws. But many states' car seats laws do require a parent to use the car seat per the manufacturer's instructions.

Who should never be seated in front of an airbag? ›

Never place an infant in a rear-facing child safety seat in the front seat with an air bag. In a crash, the air bag comes out of the dashboard with its force directed at the back of the infant's head if riding in the front passenger seat. The rear seat is the safest place in the car for children younger than 13 years.

Why can't you touch a carseat in front? ›

NEVER put a rearward-facing baby seat in the front if there is an active passenger airbag. It is illegal and dangerous to do so, because if the airbag goes off, it will hit the baby seat and fling it forward with considerable force.

How fast do you have to hit someone for airbags to go off? ›

Typically, a front airbag will deploy for unbelted occupants when the crash is the equivalent of an impact into a rigid wall at 10-12 mph. Most airbags will deploy at a higher threshold — about 16 mph — for belted occupants because the belts alone are likely to provide adequate protection up to these moderate speeds.

What age can a child sit in the front? ›

In most cases, the answer is not before the age of 13. That's the generally accepted norm for allowing children to sit in the front seat of a car, however, there are organisations that say that your child should be sitting in the back seat of the car until he or she is old enough to drive themselves!

Can a 2 year old sit in the front seat of a car? ›

Children 3 and Over

While children legally can sit in the front seat from three years of age, it is important to remember that children are always safest in the backseat, even with appropriate car seats and boosters.

When can a child use a 3 point seat belt? ›

Children develop slowly and both physically and mentally are not mature to sit correctly in a 3 point seatbelt until they are 4 or 5 years old; so for a child below 4 a 5 point harness is safer as it keeps the child in the correct position, over that age the child has to understand that they need to sit in the right ...

Should my 5 year old be in a car seat or booster? ›

All children whose weight or height exceeds the forward-facing limit for their car safety seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 to 12 years of age.

Does a 4 year old need a 5-point harness? ›

Even big kids need to be safe in cars! NHTSA recommends children remain in a forward-facing car seat with a 5-point harness until the child reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the seat. At which time, the child can move into a belt positioning device.

How much do kids have to weigh to be in a booster? ›

Weight. Even if your child is technically old enough to legally ride in a booster seat, they may not weigh enough to safely sit in one. At a minimum, your child should weigh at least 40 pounds before using a belt-positioning booster car seat.

What is the weight requirement for a car seat? ›

California Law

Children under 2 years of age shall ride in a rear-facing car seat unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds OR is 40 or more inches tall. The child shall be secured in a manner that complies with the height and weight limits specified by the manufacturer of the car seat.

Can a 4 year old sit in a booster seat? ›

Your child should be at least four years old. Your child has reached the minimum requirement of the seat (15kg when approved to ECE R44 or 100cm when approved to UN R129) – this is legally binding by the regulations. Your child has the mental maturity to sit still in the high back booster seat.

What are the laws around booster seats? ›

Children under the age of 8 are required to be secured in a car or booster seat. Children who are 8 years old OR at least 4'9” may be secured by a booster seat, but at minimum wear a seat belt.

Do you have to wear a seatbelt in the back seat in Nebraska? ›

Drivers and adult front seat passengers must wear seat belts in the District of Columbia and all states except New Hampshire. In Nebraska, seat belt laws are secondary. They cover drivers and front seat passengers age 18 and older. Child restraint laws vary by state.

Should my 5 year old be in a car seat or booster? ›

All children whose weight or height exceeds the forward-facing limit for their car safety seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 to 12 years of age.

When can a child switch to a high back booster? ›

Generally, kids weighing over 65 pounds are ready to switch to a booster seat. When your child reaches 49 inches (about 4 feet) tall. When you believe your child is mature enough to properly sit in a booster seat with the seat belt correctly positioned at all times.

Does a 4 year old need a 5-point harness? ›

Even big kids need to be safe in cars! NHTSA recommends children remain in a forward-facing car seat with a 5-point harness until the child reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the seat. At which time, the child can move into a belt positioning device.

Are backless booster seats still legal? ›

Children weighing more than 22kg and taller than 125cm can use a backless booster seat. Children of 12 years old or taller than 135cm do not need to use a child seat. Before this age or height they must do by law. Child seats must be fitted either using ISOFIX mountings or a diagonal seat belt strap.

What height and weight can you stop using a booster seat? ›

3 We know that children should use a car seat or booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches (57 inches) tall and weigh between 80 and 100 pounds, when they can safely ride using a seat belt.

Do you have to attach a booster seat to the car? ›

Unlike forward-facing car seats, which are attached to the vehicle with either a bottom tether or top LATCH system, booster seats are not attached to the vehicle. The vehicle's seatbelt functions as the restraint, securing both the booster seat and the child. That's why belt fit is so critical.

Can you get pulled over in Nebraska for not wearing a seatbelt? ›

Primary Enforcement of Seat Belt Laws

A violation results in a $25 fine.

Can a 10 year old sit in the front seat in Nebraska? ›

All children 12 and under should ride in the back seat; the safest place. Proper installation is important for your child's safety.

Is it illegal to leave your kids in the car in Nebraska? ›

Leaving Child in Car Law in Nebraska

In Nebraska, It is illegal to leave a child under the age of 6 unattended in a vehicle.

Videos

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3. WTOL: Knowing car seat safety
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4. Education: Car Seat Safety
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5. Car Seat Basics
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