Louisiana Car Seat Laws: Updated

Louisiana Car Seat Laws
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    According to the Louisiana child passenger safety law, infants must be in a rear-facing infant car seat until they are at least two years old. Children between two and four who have outgrown the rear-facing mode must be restrained in a forward-facing car seat. The law stipulates that children between 4 and 8 should use booster seats, while you should transport those under 13 in the back seat. Louisiana child passenger safety law is codified under R.S. 32:295.

    Lousiana is among the fantastic destinations to visit with kids, especially to learn about history and culture. However, like other states in the U.S., Louisiana has some rules that control car seat use and apply to drivers and parents alike. 

    Last summer, my husband and I took our children to Louisiana town. As a travel mom, I understand that car seat laws will apply to the Pelican State. I did extensive research before our trip and realized that many parents are paranoid about car seat safety as they struggle to determine what laws apply to each state. 

    If you’re in this situation, worry not. In this article, I’ll walk you through all the relevant Louisiana car seat laws, including the rules for rear-facing, forward-facing, booster seats, car seat belts, and passenger front seat laws that apply to children. I’ll also share the fines that the Lousinana government imposes in case of violating these laws. 

    In case you’re in a hurry, here’s an overview of the Louisiana car seat laws. However, I encourage you to read to the end so that you fully understand the intricacies of these rules and how they apply to your situation. 

    P.S.: This is solely researched information from credible Louisiana government sources and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Consult your lawyer for specific legal advice. 

    Quick Overview Of Louisiana Laws For Car Seats

    Louisiana car seat law

    If you will read nothing else in this article, here is a quick overview of the car seat laws in Louisiana: 

    For driversDrivers should restrain passengers under the age of 18 properly according to federal safety standards.
    Rear-facing child safety seatInfants and toddlers under two years old must be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat until they reach the weight or height limit specified by the car seat manufacturer.
    Forward-facing child restraintYou must use a forward-facing child restraint with an internal harness system for toddlers and preschoolers between 2 and 4 years old who have outgrown the rear-facing seat.
    Belt-positioning booster seat It would be best if you used a belt-positioning booster seat for preschoolers and school-age children between 4 and 9 years old who have outgrown the forward-facing seat.
    The vehicle’s safety seat beltThe vehicle’s safety seat belt
    Front passenger seatA child must only be placed in the front passenger seat once they are older than 13.
    Car seat laws for taxisDoes not apply. 
    Penalty for violating these laws$100 for the first offense, $200 to $500 for the second offense

    Louisiana Rear Facing Car Seat Law

    Louisiana car seat laws require all infants riding in the back of a vehicle to be in a rear-facing car seat. You can buy different car seats for your infant, but they all need to face the back of the car. Putting an infant facing forward can cause severe head and neck injuries during an accident.

    Another benefit of rear-facing car seats is that they’re safer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that children under two are seventy-eight percent more likely to die or be severely injured when in a forward-facing car seat than if they were rear-facing.

    With all that information, Louisiana decided to make it law for infants to ride facing the vehicle’s back until they reach the car seat manufacturer’s limits to be forward-facing. That age is usually at least three years old.

    If you have a convertible car seat, you can safely change your child over when they reach the manufacturer-recommended rear-facing weight limit.

    When Can A Child Switch To Forward Facing In Louisiana?

    Your child must be at least four years old before you can switch them from a forward-facing car seat to a booster. 

    Also, consider their current seat’s weight and height limits. If your child does not exceed these limits, they must still utilize their forward-facing car seat.

    Louisiana Booster Seat Law

    Children must be at least four years of age and have outgrown their five-point harness forward-facing car seat weight and height limits to use a booster seat.

    When children outgrow their five-point harness forward-facing car seats, they should ride in a booster seat until they reach that specific booster seat’s height or weight limit.

    Switching from a five-point harness car seat to a booster seat is easy if you have a 3-in-1 or all-in-one seat with a high-back booster combo. The car seats remain the same, but you remove the five-point harness and add a lap or shoulder belt, depending on your child’s size and weight.

    After a high-back booster, children can sit in a belt-positioning booster seat until they’re big enough for the vehicle’s seat belt to fit them correctly. 

    In Louisiana, children must be at least nine or have outgrown their booster seat requirements to use a regular seat belt without a booster.

    What Are The Booster Seat Requirements In Louisiana

    Louisiana does not have specific weight and height requirements for car seats. They rely on the manufacturer’s recommendations for a booster’s weight and height limits.

    If your child is under the manufacturer’s recommendations, they can use a booster seat.

    Does My Child Need A Car Seat in Uber Or A Taxi in Lousiana?

    Parents are responsible for transporting their child in an approved car seat in a taxi service vehicle. Uber and other ride-hailing services may allow you to order a car seat when you request a ride using the App.

    Lap-Shoulder Seat Belt Law

    Louisiana’s Lap Shoulder Seat Belt Law mandates that any child at least nine years of age passing the 5-step law must use the lap-shoulder seat belt installed by the vehicle manufacturer.

    Five-Step Law 

    The five-step law determines if a 9-year-old can move out of the booster seat and use the lap-shoulder belt installed by the vehicle manufacturer. To determine if the child passes this 5-step law, have them sit directly on the seat with the seat belt on. Look for the following points:

    • The 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 child’s thighs and lower hips. 
    • The belt does not fall across the child’s abdomen.
    • The shoulder strap fits snugly across the center of the chest and not across the child’s neck.  

    What Are The Consequences Of Not Following Louisiana’s Car Seat Law?

    You can be issued a ticket if you get pulled over for violating child safety laws in Louisiana. Accompanying this ticket will be fined in the following amounts:

    • 1st offense = $100
    • 2nd offense = $250-500
    • 3rd offense = $500 + court costs
    • Further offenses = $500 + court costs

    You will have 30 days to provide proof that you have purchased the appropriate seat if you receive a citation. You could face more legal action if a child dies or sustains an injury during an auto accident due to your negligence.

    When Can A Child Sit In The Front?

    Louisiana car seat laws require that children be restrained in the backseat of a vehicle until they are at least 13 years old.

    Louisiana has no specific weight requirement for kids over thirteen to ride in the front seat. Most experts recommend that kids be at least 80 pounds or 4 feet 9 inches tall if they ride in the front seat.

    Who Are the Louisiana Car Seat Laws For?

    The Louisiana car seat laws apply to anyone with a child that falls within the age range of the law specifications. It doesn’t matter if the child you’re driving is yours; a car seat must be available if they fall under the law’s age, weight, and height specifications. 

    The laws apply as long as you’re within the Louisiana jurisdiction – passing by or driving around the town. 

    Are There Exceptions For Louisiana Car Seat Laws? 

    Yes. Louisiana’s car seat usage laws will not apply during specific emergencies. For example, when rushing an injured child to the emergency room in an ambulance or if their unique medical needs don’t allow them to be placed in a car seat, the laws will not apply.  

    Comparing Louisiana Car Seat Laws With Other States

    The car seat laws in Louisiana aren’t very different from other states in the U.S. However, the Louisiana government imposes higher violation fees than many other states, especially for recurring offenses. 

    There’s also a slight difference in the age limit within which children qualify to use different restrain systems. 

    For example, seven or younger children between 40 and 57 inches in Kentucky must be in a booster seat. Once they pass 57 inches, they can use an adult seat belt. In other places, like the District of Columbia, kids who are eight and above can use an adult seat belt.

    With this in mind, you want to look into these jurisdictions’ respective car seat laws during interstate travel with children. You can check out my other article, where I’ve gathered the car seat laws for all states in the U.S. 


    A look at the Louisiana laws for child passenger safety shows that the state prioritizes the proper use of car seats during commutes. 

    There are several places to purchase quality children’s car seats. You should always have the proper one installed in your vehicle when traveling with children below 13 years. 

    These laws seek to protect your little ones and ensure their safety. Not following local laws could result in sanctions against your driver’s license, fines, and jail terms.

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