Motor vehicle accidents are responsible for a lot of pain and suffering every year. In 2015 alone, motor vehicle crashes killed over 35,000 people. That’s 96 people per day.
From 2003 to 2012, motor vehicle accidents were responsible for a total of 1,282 motor vehicle occupants in Wyoming.
This is why Wyoming has robust seat belt laws to protect you and your family. By wearing seat belts, harnesses and installing booster seats for children as needed, you can help reduce the risk of severe injury or death in a crash.
Failing to follow Wyoming seat belt laws could lead to significant penalties and cause fatal injuries and even death. A regulated car or booster seat could have prevented most of these injuries.
Using a car seat is the best way to ensure your and your children’s safety. Continue reading to learn how seat belt laws and booster seat laws in Wyoming can protect you and your little ones.
Disclaimer: This guide does not constitute legal advice. Please do not interpret what we have to say here as legal advice. If you or a loved one are involved in a legal matter involving Wyoming car seat laws, you need to consult a qualified licensed attorney in the state of Wyoming.
Wyoming Car Seat Law
Under Wyoming law, every driver and passenger must wear a seatbelt.
- Vehicles designed for more than 11 passengers
- Vehicles that were not manufactured with seatbelts
Exceptions to this car seat law apply to:
- Postal carriers on duty, who do not need to use seatbelts
- Occupants of cars who have medical conditions preventing the safe use of a seatbelt. However, this occupant must have a physician’s certification authorizing the exemption.
The seat belt law is a secondary law, which means that law enforcement officers can’t pull you over for a suspected violation of this rule alone.
Wyoming Infant/Toddler Car Seat Law
Infants or toddlers under 12 months and less than 20 pounds must use a rear-facing car seat in the car’s back seat.
As a word of advice, never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an active airbag. This is dangerous for your child.
Wyoming Car Seat Law for Children Under the Age of Nine
According to Wyoming Statutes Title 31, section 31-5-1303, children under the age of nine must be “properly secured in a child safety restraint system in a car of the vehicle other than the front seat” while the driver is operating the vehicle.
A child safety restraint system can be a harness or a booster seat. Wyoming laws require the seat to be used and installed appropriately but do not specify the type of seat needed. You also need to use the seat following the standards established by the car seat or harness manufacturer.
You should not place the booster seat in the front seat unless your car only has one row of seats or child passengers have already taken all of the seats in the rows behind the front seat.
- School buses and public transit vehicles that come without seatbelts
Exceptions to this car seat law for children apply to:
- Children with medical conditions that prevent the safe use of a restraint system (must have written certification of a health practitioner)
- Children under nine who can use a shoulder and lap belt without a booster if:
- The belts fit properly across the hips, chest, and collarbone, and
- The belts will not be dangerous to the child’s face, neck, or abdomen in the event of a crash
This means that children under the age of nine do not have to sit in a booster seat if they are tall enough to not have to. Wyoming law does not specify when your child can be moved out of a booster seat. In general, however, a height of 4 feet 9 inches (145 cm or 57 inches) should indicate that your child no longer needs a booster seat.
If you do not follow these regulations to ensure child safety, authorities will find you $50 for the first offense and $100 for the second offense.
If you fail to have a child below 12 years old wear a safety belt, authorities may issue you a citation and penalty of up to $25. Authorities will fine you up to $10 for failing to get children between 12 and 17 years old to properly wear and use a seat belt.
Wyoming Car Seat Law for Children Between Nine and 17
Children between nine and 17 must wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt when driving or taking a ride.
If the child fails to wear a safety belt, authorities may issue the child with a citation and a fine of up to $25. This will not count towards a driver’s license suspension or an increase in insurance premiums.
Types of Infant and Child Car Seats
If you are confused about the types of seats we referred to in the previous sections of this article, here’s a guide to clarify what types of infant and child car seats exist on the market.
Rear-Facing-Only Infant Car Seats
Rear-facing seats turn your child backward, with their face facing the back of the car. These infant car seats allow you to latch them into your car.
They are only for newborns and infants under a certain weight and length. Do not attempt to fit a larger child into a rear-facing-only infant car seat. This is dangerous and will not give your child the protection they need.
Convertible Car Seats
This is more versatile than a rear-facing-only infant car seat. You can convert this type of seat from a rear-facing car seat for your infant to a front-facing car seat.
Booster seats are for children who are too large to fit in a car seat, but not tall enough to use a regular seat belt. Boosters seats raise your child off the seat so they can use the vehicle’s seat belt safely and appropriately.
Remember to use your booster seat with your vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt, never just the lap belt or the shoulder belt.
If the booster seat is appropriate for your child, the top of your child’s ear should not be above the back of the seat.
This is the most flexible option. However, they tend to be the biggest. They will grow up with your child and you can transform it from rear-facing to front-facing to booster seat with adjustments.
To Wrap It Up
Regardless of our age, we all need to obey seat belt and booster seat laws in Wyoming so we can reduce the number of traffic accidents and injuries.
As a parent, you need to pay particular attention to your child’s height and what kind of seat fits them the best. Your child’s safety should be your first and foremost priority whenever you get into the car as a family.
Wyoming’s seat belt laws serve to protect families and children. If you have any further questions, speak to a qualified attorney or similarly licensed professional.