Nebraska Car Seat Laws

Current as of March 2024

Nebraska Car Seat Laws: What Every Parent Needs to Know

As a parent in Nebraska, keeping your child safe in the car is always a top priority. Following the state's car seat laws is not only legally required, but also one of the best ways to protect your little ones on the road. We've broken down the key points you need to know to ensure you're using the right car seat correctly every time you buckle up.

Nebraska Car Seat Requirements by Age and Size

Nebraska law requires all children under 8 years old to be properly secured in a federally-approved child safety seat. The specific type depends on your child's age, height, and weight:

  • Infants (under 2 years): Must ride in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the seat's height or weight limit.
  • Toddlers and Preschoolers (2-5 years): Should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they outgrow it.
  • School-Aged Kids (5-8 years, under 4'9"): Must use a booster seat until they can fit properly in a seat belt.
  • Older Kids (8+ years or 4'9"+): Can use a seat belt if it fits correctly across the lap and shoulder.

Remember, kids under 13 are always safest in the back seat. By following these guidelines, you significantly reduce the risk of serious injury or death for your child if a crash occurs.

Installing Your Car Seat Right: Tips and Tricks

Choosing the right car seat is crucial, but proper installation is just as key. Always follow these steps:

  1. Read your car seat and vehicle manuals thoroughly.
  2. Place the seat in the back, facing the correct direction for your child's age/size.
  3. Secure the seat tightly with either the seat belt or lower anchors. It should not move more than 1 inch side-to-side or front-to-back when pulled at the belt path.
  4. Adjust the harness snugly against your child's body, with the chest clip at armpit level.
  5. For rear-facing seats, ensure the correct recline angle so your child's head does not flop forward.

Nebraska offers free car seat checks at various locations, where certified technicians can inspect your installation and offer guidance. It's a quick, easy way to double check your work and ensure your child's safety.

Penalties for Breaking Nebraska Car Seat Laws

In Nebraska, police can pull you over and issue a ticket if they see a child passenger who is not properly secured. The fine is $25, plus court costs and one point on your license - but the real cost is the danger to your child's life.

Car crashes are a leading cause of death for kids. Using the right car seat can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers. So while it may be tempting to let them ride without the proper restraint, it's never worth the potential price.

Your Nebraska Car Seat FAQs, Answered

Still have questions about keeping your kids safe on Nebraska roads? We've got answers:

Q: What if my child is over 8 but under 4'9"?

A: Keep them in a booster seat until they reach 4'9", even past age 8. It's all about size, not just age, when it comes to car seat safety.

Q: Are there any times my child can legally ride without a car seat?

A: Nebraska allows very few exceptions to the car seat law, like in certain emergency vehicles. If a proper restraint is available, you must use it for kids under 8. Don't risk it!

Q: Where can I go for help with car seat installation?

A: Nebraska has many car seat inspection stations where certified technicians can check your installation and offer expert advice. Many fire/police stations, hospitals, and health departments also offer this service.

The bottom line for Nebraska parents is simple: always properly secure your child under 8 in the right car seat, installed correctly every single ride. By following the state's laws and best practice recommendations, you're giving your kid the best chance of coming home safe from every trip. And that's what matters most.