Thanks to recent advancements in vehicle construction, children are safer in cars than ever before. However, even minor accidents can cause serious injuries, which is why parents must be proactive when it comes to protecting their children on the road, including using both child safety seats and the vehicle’s safety functions.
Perhaps most important, all parents should learn how to use child seats correctly. The instructions change as children grow, and making the proper adjustments could save your child’s life. Some of these proper-use instructions are included under state law, but others are recommendations made by experts or seat manufacturers.
In addition to the recommended child seat guidelines, Louisiana has laws that govern child seat use. Breaking these laws could lead to steep fines or worse. Your child could suffer a preventable injury if you are in an accident and they were not in the proper seat or not belted into the seat correctly.
What to Do If a Negligent Driver Injures Your Child
No tragedy compares to a serious accident that involves children. This is especially true if the collision was avoidable – but another driver’s reckless or inattentive behavior caused the crash.
If you were a victim of a negligent driver, call Morris Bart, LLC. A personal injury lawyer can handle the legal side of your accident so you can focus on recovery. We can help you pursue damages from the at-fault party, which can help pay for medical bills and other expenses. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 1-800-537-8185.
We have offices across the state. We can represent clients anywhere in Louisiana, as well as Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Louisiana Car Seat Laws
Here is a brief overview of child car seat laws in Louisiana:
According to La. Rev. Stat. § 32:295, children from birth to two years old must be in a rear-facing infant seat until they reach the limits of the seat. Those from 2 to 4 years old must ride in a child seat that faces forward and features an approved internal harness.
It is worth noting that you can keep your child rear-facing after their second birthday, as long as the weight and height limits of the car seat allow for it. Experts recommend keeping your child rear-facing as long as possible, but Louisiana requires it until their second birthday if their seat permits it.
Children between 4 and 9 years old can upgrade to a booster seat that is designed to improve belt positioning. Kids older than 9, depending on their size, can move to a lap and shoulder seatbelt.
All children should ride in the backseat until at least age 13, because of the dangers posed by airbags. If a child must ride in the front seat, it is important to turn off the airbag in the passenger seat when possible.
The Louisiana law is also clear that when a child falls into more than one category – such as being four years old but still falling within the weight and height limits of their forward-facing car seat – they should be kept in the most protective seat. In this example, they would remain in the car seat with a harness until they exceed the weight or height limit, then move to a booster seat.
Penalties for Breaking Child Car Seat Laws
If a driver is convicted of contravening child restraint laws in Louisiana, he or she may face steep fines. The exact penalties depend on several circumstances. If accompanied by other charges, such as DUI, the offender may face potential jail time. Repeat offenses generally involve harsher sentencing.
Drivers who have a child restraint conviction must also produce an affidavit stating that he or she has purchased an appropriate safety seat. This affidavit is available on the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission website.
Why Child Car Seat Laws Exist
Car seats save lives and help reduce the risk and severity of accident-related injuries. According to DMV.org, each state has specific child safety laws, and they are in place to protect children’s health and well-being.
The correct car seat will depend on the age, size, and weight of your child. It is important to follow NHTSA safety guidelines when choosing an appropriate seat. You may also be able to find resources locally to help you ensure your child’s car seat is installed correctly and fits the requirements. Many local fire departments, for example, offer these services.
What to Do If Your Child Was Hurt in a Collision
While child safety seats offer many protections for young children and help seatbelts and other features work better despite their small size, injuries can still occur. Unfortunately, no safety measure can control the actions of negligent drivers. If you were in a collision that was not your fault, call Morris Bart, LLC to find out if you should file an injury lawsuit.
You may be able to file a liability auto insurance claim or lawsuit to hold the at-fault driver legally and financially responsible for any injuries you and your child suffered. This could include your medical bills, lost income, car repairs, pain from your injuries, and more. Louisiana law allows you to hold negligent drivers at fault for their careless actions.
It is also crucial to replace your child’s car seat after an accident. The forces involved in a crash could alter the integrity of the seat and it could fail if there is another impact.
Talk With an Attorney from Morris Bart, LLC About Your Rights
If you or your child suffered injuries in a Louisiana car crash, our attorneys will speak with you about your case and what you can do to hold the at-fault driver responsible. Our office is available at (800) 537-8185. A personal injury attorney from our firm can handle the legal side of your accident so you can focus on recovery.
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