In the State of Iowa, all children under the age of 18 are required to be secured when in a vehicle in one form or another. The requirements are as follows:
a. Under the age of one (1) AND weighing less than 20 pounds – Must be secured in rear-facing child restraint system.
b. Under the age of six (6) but not meeting the description in (a) – must be secured by a child restraint system.
c. Between the ages of six (6) and eighteen (18) – Must be restrained in either a child restraint system, safety belt, or a safety harness. This means all children under 18 years old MUST wear a seat belt whether they are seated in the front or rear seats of a vehicle.
A "child restraint system" is defined as a "belt-positioning seat" (car-seat) or a "booster seat." Consequently, either type of seat may be used for children under the age of six but all seats are required to be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. This means that if a "booster seat" manufacturer's instructions say "for use for children over the age of 5" it would be illegal to transport a 4 year old child in that seat. ALWAYS carefully read, follow and retain the child seat manufacturer's instructions.
The individual transporting the child is the one who is violation of the law unless the child failing to be properly secured is fourteen (14) years of age or older. Those that are fourteen (14) years of age or older who violate these requirements are issued the citation as opposed to the driver.
Note: The laws regarding seat belts and child restraint devices do NOT apply to school buses or motorcycles.