Church Van Question


New member
Legally, can children under 8 ride in a church van without booster/car seats. I know that this is DEFINATELY not safe. I am attempting to get them to change to a school bus based soley on the legalities.


Here is the exceptions to the law for Indiana:
Sec. 1. This chapter does not apply to a person who operates any of the following vehicles:
(1) A school bus.
(2) A taxicab.
(3) An ambulance.
(4) A public passenger bus.
(5) A motor vehicle having a seating capacity greater than nine (9) individuals that is owned or leased and operated by a religious or not-for-profit youth organization.
(6) An antique motor vehicle.
(7) A motorcycle.
(8) A motor vehicle that is owned or leased by a governmental unit and is being used in the performance of official law enforcement duties.
(9) A motor vehicle that is being used in an emergency.
(10) A motor vehicle that is funeral equipment used in the operation of funeral services when used in:
(A) a funeral procession;
(B) the return trip to a funeral home (as defined in IC 25-15-2-15); or
(C) both the funeral procession and return trip.


New member
IC 9-19-11-3.7
Exception; child over 40 pounds; lap safety belt
Sec. 3.7. Notwithstanding sections 2 and 3.6 of this chapter, a person may operate a motor vehicle in which there is a child who weighs more than forty (40) pounds and who is properly restrained and fastened by a lap safety belt if:
(1) the motor vehicle is not equipped with lap and shoulder safety belts; or
(2) not including the operator's seat and the front passenger seat:
(A) the motor vehicle is equipped with one (1) or more lap and shoulder safety belts; and
(B) all the lap and shoulder safety belts are being used to properly restrain other children who are less than sixteen (16) years of age.


New member
So, correct me if I am wrong, legally they can use the van :( to transport the children but my 36# 5 year old would still need restraints?


New member
If the van has more than 9 seats, no child restraints are legally required.

If the van has 9 or fewer seats, your 36 pounder must be properly restrained in any case. Children over 40 pounds are allowed to use just the lap belt if all available lap-shoulder belts are being used for children under 16 years of age.


New member
Thanks for all of your quick replys (I hate being wrong :) I did call them and tell them that they yes could legally use the vans, but that for safety reasons my child could not attend, it is an after school activity and the children would be taken directly from the school (she rides a bus to school) and I have another child that rides a different bus to get off, so I could not drive her myself.


Well-known member
Good for you for doing what you could to make a difference. It is possible that with time, the fact that you said something and withdrew your child from the field trip will make them think twice about this. After all, it's the laws of physics that really matter.


What would these same questions be for Kentucky car seat requirements? Thanks...


Active member
In case you or someone else would like help interpreting, it looks like appropriate car seats or boosters are required in passenger vehicles meant to carry 15 or fewer passengers. Seats/boosters are not required for children who are at least 8 years old or 57 inches tall. Children must be harnessed until at least 40 inches tall.

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