Car Seat Laws in Louisiana
A car accident can be one of the more traumatic situations you can face on the road. If you have small children in the car when you’re involved in a car wreck, their safety is probably your biggest concern.
The state of Louisiana agrees with you, which is why our state has comprehensive child safety seat laws. The statistics are clear: a child seat can reduce the risk of death for under-1-year-olds by 71% in the event of an accident. For toddlers between 1 and 4 years of age, car seats prevent 54% of deaths.
What type of car seat does your child need? It ultimately depends on their height, weight, and age. There are a multitude of car seat types, all of which have their uses and safety features.
Louisiana Car Seat Regulations
Louisiana state law mandates that children must be in appropriate car seats when riding in a car or other vehicle. The law makes it easy to know which car seat you need for every stage of your child’s life:
- Children less than 2 years old must be in a rear-facing car seat, until they reach the manufacturer’s weight and height limit.
- Children between 2–4 years old must be in a forward-facing car seat with an internal harness.
- Children between 4–9 years old, who have outgrown the forward-facing car seat, must be in a belt-positioning booster seat secured with a vehicle lap-shoulder belt.
- Children over 9 years old must wear a standard safety belt, fit correctly to their body.
- If a child is old enough to be in a less-protective seat, but has yet to outgrow their current seat, they must remain in the “more protective category” of seat until they outgrow it.
- All children under 13 must ride in the back seat of a vehicle.
- All children under 18 years of age must wear a seat belt or other protection, as specified above.
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Types of Car Seats
There are three main types of car seats, as covered in Louisiana law:
- Rear facing car seats are proven to be safer for very small children than other types of child seats. Infants in forward-facing seats are at much higher risk of severe head and neck injuries–in fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that babies are 78% more likely to die or be severely injured in a forward-facing seat.
- Front facing car seats are the next step up from baby car seats. Some manufacturers make convertible car seats that can flip from rear-facing to front-facing when the child is old and big enough.
- Booster seats can’t be used until the child is at least 4 years old, and has outgrown their five-point harness seat. Some car seats are 3-in-1 or all-in-one models, which can be transitioned from rear-facing, to front-facing, and finally booster seats. The child must wear their booster until they’re 9, or have outgrown their booster seat.
Before moving your child into the next seat on this list, be sure that they’ve outgrown the seat they’re in by checking the manufacturer’s height and weight limits.
How to Keep Your Child Safe in a Car Accident
We know that keeping your child safe on every drive is your highest priority. While you might not be able to prevent every car accident, here are some steps to help your family stay safe if you are involved in one.
- Register your car seat by filling out the registration card. If the manufacturer has to recall or repair a defect down the line, you’ll be notified.
- Don’t reuse a car seat if it was previously in a wreck. Even if it looks fine, it might’ve been damaged in the collision and keep your child less safe.
- Beware of second-hand seats, both because you can’t be sure of its history and because it might’ve had a recall that you can’t be aware of.
- Avoid the front seat for all children younger than 13. The front airbags can cause major injury to young children.
- Make sure your child is secured in their seat, no matter how long your trip is. Most accidents happen within 5 miles of home.
- Read your car seat’s instructions and your car’s manual, too. They might hold important information about securing your child’s seat.
- Ensure your car seat is properly installed by taking it to your local fire department (without your child in the seat, of course). They can make sure it’s secure.
- Make sure your child fits their seat, and don’t upgrade their seat until they’re ready. Every child grows at a different rate.
What to Do If Your Child Was Injured in a Car Seat Accident
Sometimes, the worst does happen and you’re in a car accident with your child in the back. Even with all the precautions we take, we can’t always protect our children from car wreck injuries. If your child has been injured in a car wreck, you deserve compensation for their hospital bills, ongoing therapy, and if they’ve been permanently disabled, other costs they’ll face in the future.
If you’ve been in a car wreck and your child was hurt, call the child injury lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys today. We offer free consultations over the phone at 888.501.7888—a compassionate Louisiana personal injury lawyer will listen to your story and provide legal advice on your next steps.
We’re family lawyers, so we know how much you love your family. We are here to help you find the funds you and your child need to heal and move on with your lives. The last thing you need to worry about is how to pay for your lawyer. That’s why, when you work with us, you get the G Guarantee—you won’t owe us a dime until we win your case.
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