Car Laws & Safety

Kentucky Car Seat Laws Requirements [2021 Update]

Kentucky Car seat laws were most recently updated in 2015. Minimum height requirements were raised from 50 to 57 inches for booster seat use.

In this post, we will review Kentucky car seat laws for rear-facing, forward-facing, as well as booster seat laws. Finally, we will take a look at fines Kentucky dishes out for violations of their car seat laws.  

The following regulations will help you to determine how to keep your child legally safe:

  • A rear-facing seat is used for children under one year or age or weighing 20 + pounds. 
  • A five-point harness should be used until the age of 4 or weight of 40 pounds. 
  • Any child under 12 years of age should always ride in the back. 
  • A child must use a booster seat if they are under 8 years of age and between 40 – 57 inches in height. 
  • If a child is older than 8 years, or over 57 inches, they must be secured with a seat belt. 

Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

Kentucky requires a child below 40 inches to travel in a proper child restraint system. This means your child must be in an infant seat until they are 20 pounds and 12-months old. 

Using a Rear-Facing Seat

A rear-facing seat must have the harness at or below the child’s shoulders. The harness straps should be snug and no more than one finger should fit between the child’s collar bone and the straps. 

Kentucky’s Forward-Facing Car Seat Laws

It is required to use a forward-facing car seat if a child weighs more than 20 pounds (until they reach the limit as set by the car seat manufacturer).

After the child is older than 2 and outgrows their safety seat, they must use a forward-facing seat with a harness. This type of seat is used until they are at least 5 years old and the limit of 40 pounds is met. 

Placing Harness Straps – Forward-Facing Car Seat

A forward-facing seat will have the harness straps at or above the child’s shoulders, following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

The harness straps should be snug and no more than one finger should fit between the child’s collar bone and the harness straps. 

Kentucky Booster Seat Laws 

A booster seat can be used when the child is between 40 and 57 inches tall and under the age of 8.  A booster seat is used to lift the child up so the safety belt can fit correctly. Without a booster seat, it is possible for a small child to be ejected from a vehicle in event of a crash. 

Riding in a Taxi or Uber 

Within the state of Kentucky, there are no specific laws for car seats in taxis. Kentucky has not specified any laws for riding in a taxi with children. This means there are no defined laws for having to use a car seat in a taxi with children. 

When Can my Child Ride in the Front Seat?

There is no mention of age in the updated Kentucky law. The Kentucky Department of Transportation states that you should keep your child in the back seat until they are 12 years old. 

A child should not sit in the front seat, it is extremely dangerous in an accident due to airbags, which can kill or injure young passengers riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front, especially in front of an airbag. 

Make sure your child is buckled up every trip, no matter how long it is. You can also set a good example by consistently wearing your seatbelt. 

Replacing a Car Seat

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recommends replacing a car seat if it has been in an accident. The car seat should also be replaced 6 years after the manufacturing date. 

You may also check with your insurance providers if a replacement is necessary. Always make sure to read the manufacturer’s guidelines for both the car seat and the vehicle the car seat is being installed in. 

Definition of a Car Seat 

Car seats are legally defined in Kentucky as “child restraint systems”, or any device made to transport children in a motor vehicle according to federal regulation. This includes both car and booster seats. Car seats enclose the child to provide protection, while booster seats elevate the child, so the lap and shoulder belt fit properly. 

Fines for Violating Car Seat Laws

If you are pulled over with children, police officers often check if the required safety systems are in use and if the seat belts are fitted properly. 

Regular seat belt laws will apply once your child is taller than 57 inches. This means you can be fined if your child is not wearing a seat belt while the vehicle is in motion. 

If you do not follow the updated booster seat laws, you will be fined $30. You can avoid paying the fine if you can provide proof that you since have purchased a booster seat. If you are caught with a child in the vehicle who is not in a standard car seat but is supposed to be the fine is roughly $50. 

Conclusion

Kentucky car seat laws are determined by age, weight, and height. There are different regulations that must be followed by using these factors. Following Kentucky laws and regulations will help to keep your child safe while in a motor vehicle. 

Car seat laws are designed to keep your child safe in an accident. Using a car seat can not only help save your child’s life but also reduce chances of serious injury occurring. 

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

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