Iowa Code 321.446, Data Code 198a - as of July 2010

Key Points:

A child under 1 year old and weighing less than 20

lbs. must be secured in a rear-facing child restraint


A child age 1 up to 6 years old must be secured in a

child restraint system (a safety seat or booster seat--

NOT a seat belt)

A child from age 6 up to age 11 must be secured in a

child restraint system or by a safety belt

Rear seat occupants up to age 18 must be secured by

a safety belt

A “child restraint system” is a specially designed seating

system, including a belt positioning seat or a booster seat

that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards.

The misdemeanor fine is $100.00, plus costs (non-moving

violation) totaling at least $195.00

The law applies to both residents and non-residents of Iowa

The child restraint system must be used in accordance with

the manufacturer’s instructions

The child must be secured in the child restraint and the child

restraint must be properly secured to the vehicle

Non-use of a child restraint is probable cause to stop a


An officer may investigate a suspected violation

For unrestrained passengers age 0-13, the driver receives

the citation, and for unrestrained passengers 14-17, the

passenger receives the citation

1st offense citation will not result in conviction if driver

"produces in court” proof of acquisition of child restraint


Children certified by a physician as having a medical,

physical or mental disability making restraint use inadvisable

Children on bus, including a school bus

Children riding on motorcycles

Children riding in vehicles manufactured before 1966

Children transported in authorized emergency vehicles

Children transported by peace officers on official duty

Children riding in motor homes except if riding in the front

passenger seat (where they must be restrained)

Children for whom a seat belt is not available due to all other

belts being used (example: 4th child in back seat with only 3 belts)

This is only a guide, provided through the courtesy of

Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau

Department of Public Safety

Produced with Federal Highway Safety Funds 07/10 10M