Car seat laws can be confusing to follow, but they’re essential for you and your family to understand to stay safe. If you live in Louisiana or are just driving through, you should be aware of the local laws.
In Louisiana, the child passenger safety law mandates that all children ages 13 and younger are not allowed to sit in the front seat and must be in the correct restrained seating.
Louisiana car seat laws are designed to protect your kids while helping you avoid tickets. Protecting your little ones with a car seat is the first step to keeping them safe.
Different types of car seats include infant seats, convertible car seats, all-in-ones, and booster car seats. Each style is meant to keep your child safe while traveling in a car or other vehicle.
Everyone riding in a vehicle needs to have a safety restraint regardless of age. This is considered a primary offense for those caught in violation.
The Louisiana state laws on car seats are still in effect for all passengers under the age of seven regardless of whether they’re traveling across the border or not.
You need to know these laws irrespective of whether you live in Louisiana or are just passing through. Every state has different laws governing these types of safety restraints for children, so we will walk you through the basics to better understand the Louisiana car seat laws.
- Louisiana Infant Car Seat Law
- Louisiana Rear Facing Car Seat Law
- Louisiana Booster Seat Law
- When Can a Child Switch To Forward Facing?
- What Are The Height And Weight Requirements For A Booster Seat?
- When Can a Child Sit In The Front?
- How Much Does A Kid Have To Weigh To Sit In The Front Seat In Louisiana?
- Leaving Child Unattended Law
- Smoking In The Car Law
- Lousiana Fines For Car Seat Laws
- Do I Need To Replace A Car Seat After An Accident?
- Does My Child Need a Car Seat in Uber or a Taxi?
- Where Can I Purchase a Car Seat In Lousiana?
- Lap-Shoulder Seat Belt Law
- Five-Step Law
- Where Can You Have A Car Seat Installed?
- Side Airbag Law
- Penalties for Not Following the Law
- Taxi Law
- Uber Policy
- Lyft Policy
Louisiana Infant Car Seat Law
According to the Louisiana child passenger safety law, an infant must be in a rear-facing infant car seat until they are at least two years old. The child must remain rear-facing until they meet the age and weight requirements set by the manufacture of the car seat.
Nearly eighty percent of car accidents involving infants occur because they were restrained improperly or not at all(source). Following the law, with an infant car seat installed correctly, reduces that risk.
The key to following this law is to buy the correct car seat for your infant’s size. Most infants under one year of age are best suited to an infant car seat. The infant car seat will typically come with the base, which fits into the car itself, and the infant carrier, which is snapped into place on the base.
After the infant car seat, the following type of car seat to invest in is a convertible car seat. A convertible car seat can be used rear-facing for young infants and then forward-facing as the child grows.
Louisiana Rear Facing Car Seat Law
Louisiana car seat laws require that all infants riding in the back of a vehicle must 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 vehicle. 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 much safer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that children under the age of 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 of that information, Louisiana decided to make it law for infants to ride facing the vehicle’s back until they reach the car seat manufactures limits to be forward-facing. That age is usually at least three years old, and it’s the first step to moving your child from a rear-facing car seat to a forward-facing one with a five-point harness.
If you have a convertible car seat, you can safely change your child over when they reach the manufacturer recommended rear-facing weight limit.
Louisiana Booster Seat Law
Children must be at least four years of age and have outgrown their five-point harness forward-facing car seats 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 the height or weight limit of that specific booster seat.
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 actual car seats remain the same, but you take away the five-point harness and add either 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, that means children must be at least nine years old or have outgrown their booster seat requirements to use a regular seat belt without a booster.
When Can a Child Switch To Forward Facing?
When you’re child is ready to switch from a forward-facing car seat to a booster, it is crucial that they at least be four years of age.
You will also want to look at their current seat’s weight and height limits. If your child does not exceed these limits, they are still required to utilize their forward-facing car seat.
What Are The Height And Weight Requirements For A Booster Seat?
Louisiana does not have specific weight and height requirements. They rely on the manufactures recommendations for the weight and height limits of a booster. As long as your child is under the manufacturer’s recommendations, they can use a booster seat.
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 fourteen years old.
How Much Does A Kid Have To Weigh To Sit In The Front Seat In Louisiana?
There is not currently a specific weight requirement in Louisiana for kids over the age of thirteen to ride in the front seat. Most experts recommend that kids be at least 80 pounds if they ride in the front seat.
Leaving Child Unattended Law
Fines and potentially jail time could await you if you leave your child in the car. The laws in Louisiana state that you’re not allowed to leave your child unattended in a motor vehicle if they are under the age of thirteen.
This means you must take them with you when you exit the vehicle, whether at your home, store, or anywhere else. It also keeps kids from being victims of crimes that come from being alone in the car.
Leaving your child in the car can be harmful in many different ways. For one, the temperature in the vehicle can rise quickly and cause your child discomfort or worse.
You could be charged with negligent homicide in Louisiana if you leave your child unattended in a car and they die because of it. Children aren’t familiar with what’s dangerous to their health, and many times aren’t equipped to make life or death decisions. For everyone’s safety, children shouldn’t be left unattended in a vehicle.
It is never a good idea to leave your children in the car regardless of their age. Many things can happen to kids left in the vehicle, including kidnapping, heatstroke, dehydration, and more.
Smoking In The Car Law
Smoking is allowed for adults in Louisiana, but it is against the law to smoke when a child required to be in a car seat is present. This law is upheld whether the windows are up or down.
Smoking can be harmful to your child, and it’s also against the law to expose them to second-hand smoke. This means that if you’re caught smoking in a car with your kids present, then you will be fined and possibly even jailed.
This is because kids’ lungs aren’t as developed as adults’, and smoking can lead to complications for children after prolonged exposure.
Lousiana Fines For Car Seat Laws
If your child is not in the appropriate car seat, the fines you can expect are anywhere from $50 to $1000. They can even result in jail time.
The fine for an unattended child can be up to $500 for your first offense and $1,000 for your second offense. Depending on the circumstances, you could also face jail time if you put your child’s health or life in danger.
You’ll receive a ticket for each time you’re caught with an improper restraint system installed in your vehicle. It’s better to get the proper car seat and use it correctly since you could face harsh penalties if you’re seen with your child in the wrong seat.
Do I Need To Replace A Car Seat After An Accident?
No law requires you to replace your car seat after an accident. Most car seat manufacturers usually suggest that car seats be replaced after an accident to reduce the risk of car seat failure in future incidents.
With your child’s safety being the primary focus, it’s best to purchase a new car seat if any of the components in your old car seat failed during an accident.
If you get into another accident with your child riding in the same car seat, there could be potential injuries, including head trauma, spinal cord damage, paralysis, and death (especially if restraints didn’t work correctly).
Does My Child Need a Car Seat in Uber or a Taxi?
Children can ride in Uber or a taxi, but they should have an age-appropriate car seat. Louisiana is one of the few states that don’t require proper car seats when riding in an Uber or Taxi.
Most Uber and Taxi vehicles will not have kid safety seats in their cars already, and it is unlikely that they’ll be able to provide them if asked at the time of your ride.
It is the parent’s responsibility to transport their child in an approved car seat when in a taxi-service type vehicle. Not doing so can result in an Uber being unable to provide a ride to your desired destination. You may also be charged if they come to your location to find out there is no adequate car seat for your little one.
When traveling in Louisiana, you should always have a proper car seat for your child/children. This will help keep them safe in the event of an accident and also aids when you need to use a ride-sharing service to get around town.
Where Can I Purchase a Car Seat In Lousiana?
If you are traveling to Lousiana and forget your child’s car seat, there are many places to purchase one.
Many of these stores are national chains with car seats available for various ages. Some of these stores include the following:
- BuyBuy BABY
- Ross (Varies by location)
- Kohls (Varies by location)
- Macy’s (Varies by location)
- Bed Bath and Beyond (Varies by location)
These are just some of the places that sell children’s car seats in Lousiana. Before going to any of these stores, it is always best to call ahead and check the availability of car seats.
Lap-Shoulder Seat Belt Law
Louisiana ‘s Lap Shoulder Seat Belt Law mandates that any child who is at least 9 years of age and passes the 5-step law is required to use the lap-shoulder seat belt installed by the vehicle manufacturer. It is recommended to use the child booster seat as long as possible to keep the child the safest.
The five-step law is used to determine if a 9-year old can move out of the booster seat and use the lap-shoulder belt installed by the vehicle manufacture. 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 sits all the way back 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.
Where Can You Have A Car Seat Installed?
You can have your child’s car seat inspected by the local fire or police department. You can also have a child safety seat inspection completed at a Louisiana Safety Seat Inspection Checkpoint.
These checkpoints are commonly hosted by police departments and vary from state to state, county to county, and city to city.
While it is not mandatory, it is essential to ensure your child’s car seat is installed correctly. Most parents opt to install a car seat independently and do not have it inspected to ensure it is installed best for safety. Although this may not seem like a big deal to most, it can be the difference between a hassle and a fatal accident.
Not only is it important to have your car seat installed correctly, but it’s also vital to ensure the harness straps are not too loose or too tight on your child. If the harness is too big, it could cause severe injury or even death in the event of an accident. For your child’s safety devices to work adequately, they should be snug enough that you cannot pinch the strap in your fingers.
Side Airbag Law
If a vehicle is equipped with an activated side airbag, any child under the age of 6 weighing fewer than 60 pounds must sit in a rear seat unless the vehicle has none.
Penalties for Not Following the Law
If you get pulled over for violating child safety laws, you will most likely be issued a ticket. Accompanying this ticket will be a fine 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. If a child is hurt or killed in a wreck because they were not restrained properly, the driver could face more legal action if they are at fault.
Taxi are not required to have a child safety seat. However, it is crucial to have your child in a car seat to keep them safe. You will need to provide a car seat or child booster seat.
Uber gives you the option of ordering a car seat when you request an Uber ride using their app.
Lyft requires you to provide the appropriate car seat needed for your child.
There are many places to purchase a children’s car seat in Louisiana. You should always have the proper one installed in your vehicle when traveling with small children. Fines for not having correct restraints in place can be steep.
The best advice for purchasing a new seat is to ensure your child meets the manufacturer’s requirements and is comfortable in the seat.
You should always follow the Louisiana car seat law regardless of whether you live in Louisiana or you’re traveling through.
These laws are designed to protect your little ones and ensure their safety. Not following local laws could result in sanctions against your driver’s license, hefty fines, and even jail time.
The next time you’re traveling with children in Louisiana, make sure they’re buckled up in a proper car seat.