Tennessee Car Seat Laws are made to ensure all children below the age of 15 years are correctly restrained according to age and weight. Are you a resident of Tennessee, a passerby, or a tourist who has come to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the state? Ensure every passenger in your vehicle is securely harnessed for safety.

 If you live in Tennessee and plan to drive with children, you must follow all car seat laws. The Tennessee car seat laws are in place to keep your child safe and protect them in case of a crash. 

In Tennessee, if your child is younger than one and under 20 pounds, they must face backward. You may have them forward-facing in a car seat between the ages of one and two. Four to eight and under four foot nine inches must be in a booster seat. 

These rules are similar to car seat laws in other states and are intended to keep your child safe. 

 The Tennessee car seat safety laws encompass children from birth to age 15. This helps to protect children of all ages, no matter what vehicle they are in. The law is made to ensure compliance with all the state car seat laws. All you need to know about the Tennessee car seat laws are given below; explore them with me.

Overview of Car Seat Laws in Tennessee

As your child grows, they will transition through different car seats. Picking the right one will help you better follow the laws in Tennessee. There are rear-facing seats that work well for children weighing less than 20 pounds. Some of the convertible and all-in-one models may also go up to higher weights.

Then there are forward-facing car seats. These are designed for children weighing more than 20 pounds who are allowed to face forward. Booster seats help your child sit up better, so the seat belt can keep them safe. They are designed with or without backs based on the child’s age.

 Licensed drivers interested in finding the best car seat should always choose the one designed for their child. Read reviews and ratings to find the best car seats.


Tennessee Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

According to the Tennessee car seat laws, children under one (1) year who weigh twenty pounds or less are to be restrained appropriately in a rear-facing car seatGo for the best car seat to restrain the children in a rear-facing position according to the federal motor vehicle safety standards and the manufacturer’s instructions.

A rear-facing car seat can be used for children who weigh as much as 30 to 35 pounds. Go for a convertible car seat or three-in-one car seat placed in a rear-facing position that tends to grow with the child and saves you the stress and cost of changing car seats as they grow.

The Forward-Facing Laws

Car seat laws in the state of Tennessee gave detailed guidelines for the car seat appropriate for children between the ages of one (1) and three (3) as well. A forward-facing car seat can be used if you have a child that is at least one year old and less than three years old but weighs more than twenty (20). It could be done according to the car seat manufacturer’s instructions and the child safety restraint system.

Parents should go for a convertible car seat or a three-in-one car seat because these types of car seats grow with the children. Keeping them safe, saving you the extra cost, and abiding by the state’s car seat laws. If your child is two and still under 20 pounds, then you should keep them rear-facing; this helps keep them safe in case of an accident.

To choose and install a car seat, you can seek help from experts in child restraint systems. Go to a certified child passenger safety technician near you.

Tennessee Booster Car Seat Laws

In Tennessee, children aged between four (4) and eight (8) who are less than four feet, nine inches (49″) tall, should be secured in a belt-positioning booster seat. If the child, however, is not between the ages of four (4) and eight (8) years but less than four feet, nine inches (4’9″) tall, a restraint system that meets the federal motor vehicle safety standards should be used.

As such, a forward-facing car seat or booster seat can be used accordingly; ensure the manufacturer’s instructions are taken into consideration by you.

Tennessee Seat Belt Law

Tennessee also has laws on using an adult seat belt system. Children already nine (9) years of age through twelve (12) years of age and who are up to four feet and nine inches (4’9″) or more should be secured in a seat belt system. Even if your child reaches the height limit early, you may want to stick with the booster seat. I do that to keep them a little more secure for some time before graduating to use a seat belt.

Tennessee Seat Belt Law 

When can your child sit in the front in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, children nine (9) years or older can sit in the front seat properly harnessed if the rear seat is unavailable. It is recommended that children below the age of twelve (12) ride in the back seat for their safety. 

The back seat is said to be the safest location in a moving car for children. Also, a child can be asked to sit in the front seat if younger children have occupied the rear seat. Children using a booster seat or car seat who are to sit in the front should be moved far away from the airbag or deactivated the airbag for their safety.

If your vehicle does not have a back seat, the child may sit in the front. Always keep the young children in the back seat of the car; the back seat is recommended to be the safest.

 Using an adult safety belt 

The final group includes children using an adult safety belt. In Tennessee, children between the ages of thirteen (13) and fifteen (15) should be secured according to the car seat law of the state, which states that

“Children age thirteen (13) through age fifteen (15) must be secured by using a passenger restraint system, including safety belts, to meet motor vehicle safety standards.”

All children under the age of 16 should be properly restrained in a moving car. It could be challenging at times, but we owe it as a duty of care to these lovely children of ours.

Extra Rules to Consider with Car Seats

No matter your child’s age, when you drive with them, there are a few rules to follow. These include:


  • All car seats must be in the back seats of the car. The only exception is when a vehicle, such as a truck, doesn’t have a back seat.
  • You may modify restraints only when medically necessary. You must get a prescription from the physician for this and keep a copy of that prescription on you while driving.
  • It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure their children are properly restrained. If the parent is in the car but not driving, the responsibility shifts to them.
  • Keep any rear-facing car seats away from passenger seats with active airbags.
  • If your vehicle does not have headrests, use a high-back booster.
  • When you use a booster seat, the lap belt must be on the thighs of the child. Do not let the lap belt go to their stomach.
  • If the seat has a tether strap, you should secure the tether anchor in your vehicle.
  • You can check the security of the car seat. After installing the seat, try to move it around. It should barely move from side to side or front to back.

Enforcement and Penalties for not following car seat Laws and Regulations

 Tennessee Police Officers are saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the car seat laws of Tennessee are not violated by road users. They are permitted by law to pull over to check and ensure every passenger is properly restrained on the highway and streets of Tennessee.

You and I, as parents or caregivers are to ensure before moving the vehicle that all the passengers, including the children, are safely secured in their appropriate car seats as approved by the state car seat laws.

If a parent or guardian is in a moving car but not the driver, the law states that the parent or guardian will be held responsible if the child is not properly restrained.

As such, it is the duty of drivers, parents, or guardians present in a moving vehicle to make sure children below the age of sixteen are properly restrained in taxis, Uber, and even trucks. The driver will be exempted if the parent or guardian is present in the vehicle.

A fine could be charged for violations of the law. The fee amount will depend on the violation and whether violations have happened before. For most violations, the traffic ticket fee in Tennessee is $50.

Final Thought

As parents or guardians, we owe our loved ones and children a duty of care to abide by the Tennessee car seat laws by ensuring they are safely secured in a moving vehicle. The act of properly restraining children not only saves us the trouble of paying a fine but also keeps our children safe.

In the article above, I have given the types of car seats appropriate for a child according to age, weight, and height. You can get help by visiting a car seat safety check and installation station near you or calling for a certified child passenger safety technician.

Violations of the law can attract penalties and put children at risk of injury. Go for the best car seats, and ensure all car seats meet federal safety standards. Before you move the car, ensure everyone, including the child passengers, is securely harnessed.


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

Write A Comment

Keren Simanova

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