Although there shouldn’t be a debate on whether or not to use a child’s car seat, the laws that govern their use vary from state to state. Knowing Louisiana’s laws related to car seats can help you avoid a citation, and following them may improve your child’s safety in the event of an accident.
If the worst happens and you or your child sustains an injury due to another person’s negligence, contact an accident attorney from Morris Bart, LLC. Our car accident lawyers will evaluate your case and guide you through the claims process. Call today to schedule a free consultation.
Call (800) 537-8185 today to schedule a free consultation. In the meantime, read on to learn about child car seat laws in Louisiana:
Car Seats Save Lives
Unfortunately, motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury to children in the United States. As the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) car seat FAQs explain, the most effective way to keep your child safe on the road is to use the appropriate car seat.
A car seat can reduce the risk of death by 28% and the risk of injuries by 71% to 82% compared to only using a seat belt. Despite these proven statistics, many parents still don’t secure their children in a car seat before getting on the road. Thus, laws were enacted to protect the lives of children and ensure parents take the necessary precautions with their children.
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Louisiana Child Car Seat Laws
According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association’s (GHSA) information on child passenger safety, if you drive with a child in the state of Louisiana, you must adhere to these laws:
- All drivers in Louisiana who transport a child under the age of 18 are required to properly restrain them according to federal safety standards.
- Infants and toddlers under 2 years old must be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat until they reach the weight or height limit as determined by the car seat manufacturer.
- Toddlers and preschoolers between 2 and 4 years old, who have outgrown the rear-facing seat, must be restrained in a forward-facing child restraint with an internal harness system until they reach the weight or height limit as determined by the car seat manufacturer.
- Preschoolers and school-age children between 4 and 8 years old, who have outgrown the forward-facing seat, must be restrained in a belt-positioning booster seat secured with a vehicle lap/shoulder seat belt according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- School-age children who are at least 9 years old, or have outgrown the weight or height limits of a child restraint system or booster seat, must be restrained with the vehicle’s safety seat belt that fits correctly.
- A child under 13 years old must be transported in the back seat and properly restrained in a child restraint system, booster seat, or safety seat belt that fits correctly.
- The safety seat belt fits correctly when the child’s back is against the vehicle seat, the child’s knees bend over the edge of the vehicle seat, the belt fits snugly across the thighs and lower hips, and the shoulder portion snugly crosses the center of the child’s chest and not the neck.
- If a vehicle is equipped with an activated airbag, children who are under 6 years old or weigh less than 60 pounds must ride in the back seat, provided the back seats are available.
- If there are more children under 13 years old than available child restraint systems in a vehicle, unrestrained children must ride in the back seat, if back seats are available.
- Children who have physical or medical conditions that prevent them from using a child restraint system or safety seat belt are exempted from these laws.
- Car seat laws do not apply to taxis in Louisiana.
Violating Louisiana rear-facing child seat law carries a penalty of $100 for the first offense, $200 to $500 for a second offense, and $500 plus court costs for a third and subsequent offense.
If the violation is only restricted to using an incorrect car seat, the fine is a maximum of $100, including fees and court costs.
Millions of car accidents happen each year, and children are often the most vulnerable. Car seats can help prevent serious injuries and permanent damages from occurring. Investing in a quality car seat that fits legal regulations is a small price to pay to ensure safety and security for your child.
Who Has to Follow the Car Seat Law in Louisiana?
Anyone who has a child that falls within the age range of the law must ensure that the child is in a car seat. There are very few exceptions to this rule. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re going to drive any child, there must be a car seat depending on the age, weight, and height.
It doesn’t matter if the child you’re driving isn’t yours. What matters is that a car seat is available. The only exceptions are for true emergencies, such as taking an injured child to the emergency room or if their special needs don’t allow them to be placed in a car seat.
Penalties for Breaking Child Car Seat Laws in Louisiana
If you are convicted of breaking a child safety seat law in Louisiana, you will need to submit a Child Restraint Affidavit to prove that you have purchased an appropriate child car seat. You will receive a notification from the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections that you have a 30-day allowance to acquire a car seat and submit the affidavit.
If you do not send the affidavit within 30 days, your driver’s license will be suspended until you submit a notarized affidavit demonstrating that you acquired an appropriate child safety seat. It’s always within your best interest to get a car seat to not only avoid legal trouble but to protect your child while on the road.
What Should I Do If My Car Accident Hurt My Child?
Regardless of whether or not your child was in a car seat, you should always reach out to an experienced car accident attorney to learn more about what legal options are available to you. At the end of the day, if a negligent driver caused your accident, you’re still entitled to file a claim against them to receive financial compensation.
Never settle for anything less than full compensation for the damages both you and your child have suffered. Our car accident attorneys in Louisiana are ready to help you get started with your claim and negotiate for a fair settlement.
Talk to a Louisiana Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you or your child has suffered any injuries due to another person’s negligence, contact Morris Bart, LLC. Our Louisiana car accident attorneys will evaluate your case, gather evidence, structure your claim, and handle settlement negotiations on your behalf. All free of charge unless your case is compensated due to being a contingency fee based firm.
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