2008 saw Michigan overhaul its child restraint law, and now 16 years later, the child restraint laws are being updated once again to be more expansive and provide better protection for kids.

Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash
Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

2008 vs 2024

In 2008, then-governor Jennifer Granholm signed a new law that majorly changed Michigan's car seat law from children under the age of four only being required to be in a restraint system i.e. car seat or booster seat. The law since 2008 has been as follows, according to the Associated Press:

  • Children 8 and younger or those under 4 foot 9 must be in a safety seat. Children between 4 and 8 would be in a booster seat.
  • It became a ticketable offense to not have your child in a safety seat, with tickets ranging from $65 to $165 for each unrestrained child in the vehicle.

Compared to the rest of the country, Michigan's law is vague in what it requires of kids and of drivers.

Police Officer Writing Ticket

2024 Update

House Bill 4511 expands on the 2008 revisions to provide a more structured "graduation" type system that allows the child to age/grow into the federally recommended car seats/booster seats to provide the child with the safest restraint systems for them until they are either old enough or tall enough to safely use a seat belt.

READ MORE: Stay Alert And Save Lives: Michigan's Move Over Law


Directly from the Bill summary, the three stages of child restraint systems are:

  1. A child is to use a rear-facing child seat until the child is either at least two years old, or has reached the weight or height limit of the rear-facing child restraint system set by the manufacturer.
  2.  Upon meeting one of the above, the child is to switch to a forward-facing child restraint system with an internal harness until the child is either at least five years old or has reached the weight or height limit set by the manufacturer.
  3. Finally, once one of these requirements has been met, the child would then move to a belt-positioning child booster seat secured with a lap-shoulder safety belt until the child is either at least eight years old or is at least four foot nine inches tall.

This change is meant to help kids who might be bigger for their age and don't need to necessarily be in a booster seat to properly use a seat belt. Children should also always be in the rear seat unless the car doesn't have rear seats.

If you want to see the car seat types recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you can see them here.

Top 9 Car Seat Mistakes Parents Commonly Make

Car seat misuse is more common than you think. This is partially due to the fact that once installed, most parents don't make the necessary adjustments as their child grows. I spoke with Karen Mitchell, the traffic safety specialist with the Behavioral Traffic Safety Section at the Texas Department of Transportation, about the biggest mistakes that parents make that could impact their child's safety.

Gallery Credit: Heidi Kaye

6 Trusted Tips to Keep Idaho Kids Safe and Warm in Car Seats This Winter

❄️ The winter car seat safety tips below are sourced from the American Academy of Pediatrics website, HealthyChildren.org.

🚼 To access local car seat installation support and education throughout Idaho's Treasure Valley, visit the Ada County Paramedics website.

Gallery Credit: Ryan Valenzuela

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