Hawaii Seatbelt, Child Safety Seat, & Booster Seat Laws

Plan on driving in Hawaii? Then read these things you need to know about seatbelt laws, car seat laws, and booster seat laws for vehicles in Hawaii.

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• General: DIY / How-To • General: Educational
• General: Kid Friendly

Matt Anderson's Take
Vacationing or living in Hawaii and plan to be in a motor vehicle? Then you’ll want to know all about the various laws that we have in Hawaii when it comes to vehicle seatbelts, infant car seats, and child booster seats. These laws are in place to keep drivers and passengers safe and violating these laws can mean big fines and forced safety classes.

I’ll summarize some of the most important information on these laws but note that laws change and this page is not intended to be legal advice in any way. I strongly encourage you to also read the Safe Communities Page at Hawaii.gov for the most current information and laws.

Seat Belts

The laws in Hawaii require that all front seat occupants in a motor vehicle to be buckled up. If you’re in the back seat and under the age of 18 then you must also be buckled up. Failure to follow these laws could result in a ticket between $102 and $112 depending on which island you’re driving on.


Bottom line? Buckle up, it’s pretty stupid not to these days. In Hawaii, this is even truer since we have so many drivers on so few roads and accidents are pretty frequent. Why risk it? Click it or ticket, as they say.

Children Under 4

Any child under four years of age must be in a child safety seat when riding in any motor vehicle.


The back seat is proven to be the safest place for them. Rear facing seats should not be put in the front seat of a vehicle with active front passenger airbags. Always follow the child safety seat directions to ensure your safety seat is properly installed.

Children 4 Through 7

Keiki (kids) that are aged 4 years or old but under 8 years of age must be in a child safety seat or booster seat when riding in a motor vehicle.

Children 8 And Over

Even if your child is 8 years of age or older, booster seats should continue to be used until a standard seatbelt fits correctly. The lap portion of the seatbelt should fit low and snug on the hips while the shoulder strap shouldn’t cross over their face or neck. Belts should never be placed behind a child’s back, head, or under their arm.


Have your child sit with their back against the seat back. Their knees should be able to bend over the seat edge without them having to slide forward. If that isn’t the case for the child then be sure to continue using a booster seat regardless of age, weight, or height.

Renting A Car?

If you’re renting a car be sure to let the rental agency know that what type of safety or booster seat you’ll need. Simply asking for a “car seat” may not get what you need. Talk with the rental agent to let them know the age of your children and which type of seat you’ll need while making the rental reservation, don’t wait until you’re picking up the rental car.

Further Reading

For more safety tips on passenger safety visit Hawaii.gov and the Keiki Injury Prevention Coalition website.
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