Louisiana Car Seat Laws changed in August 2019. Here is what every driver transporting a child in the state of Louisiana needs to know. All drivers in the state of Louisiana who are transporting a child must follow car seat safety laws.
This law refers to ANYONE. It doesn’t matter if you are a resident of Louisiana or not. All drivers with a child passenger are required to follow the car seat laws. It includes parents, grandparents, caregivers, or anyone else driving an infant or child around. The law applies if the child is the driver’s or someone else’s.
The laws are broken down by age and weight. At different stages of development, children have different needs for protection while traveling in a vehicle.
Rear-Facing Car Seat Law
Birth to 2 years of age, until they out-grow the seat, need a rear-facing car seat. This can be an infant or convertible child safety seat. Studies show that children are safest in this position. Therefore, it is advisable to keep them in this kind of car seat as long as the car seat allows.
Forward-Facing Car Seat Law
2 years to 4 years of age until they outgrow the car seat are required to use a forward-facing car seat. The seat must have an internal harness.
Booster Seat Laws
Children from 4 to 9 years of age and weighing a minimum of 40 pounds can use a child booster seat. A belt-positioning child booster seat in a belted position with a lap-shoulder belt is required.
Manufacturers of booster seats will have height and weight limitations. Be sure you know these and do not exceed them. The booster seat is the next step after the car seat. However, it is recommended to use a car seat as long as the child fits the weight and height specifications for that seat.
Children Under the Age of 13
All children under the age of 13 are required to use the proper kind of child restraint.
- When available, they must be properly restrained in the rear seat.
- Any child under 9 years of age is required to use a car seat or booster seat.
- Any child under 60 pounds is also required to use a car seat or booster seat.
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.
School buses, church buses, or recreational vehicles that seat over ten persons are also not required to have child safety restraints.
Special Needs Law
Suppose a child is physically unable to be restrained for medical reasons. In that case, they are not required to use a child safety seat or child booster seat.
Medical Emergency Law
A child safety seat or booster is not required if the driver or child is experiencing a life-threatening emergency.
If the number of children exceeds the number of safety devices (seats, harnesses, boosters, etc.) the unrestrained child should always be in the back seat.
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.
Child car seat laws are not passed to be an inconvenience. The laws have been passed to ensure the safety of children. As parents, we want the best for our children. It starts with their safety and well-being.
Children in vehicles are at the mercy of not just the driver but the drivers of other vehicles on the road also. The proper use of child safety seats and child booster seats will help to keep our children safe in moving vehicles.