Car technology has come a long way over the decades, but despite the new rear-facing cameras, driver assist features, and headlights that automatically adjust their brightness so that they do not detract from other drivers’ ability to see the road, the seat belt remains the most effective safety feature when it comes to preventing serious injury. Seat belts can keep almost anyone safe in a collision, but they have one notable weakness, which is that they only work as they are supposed to if you are above a certain height. As every parent knows, children grow quickly, and as they grow, not only do they gain control over their posture, but their physical and mental ability to maneuver their way out of any place you want them to stay also increases. Therefore, Louisiana law has specific requirements about safety seats for young passengers of every age. Failure to comply with these rules could not only increase your child’s risk of injury in an accident but could also limit the amount you can receive in a personal injury lawsuit related to the accident. If you have been involved in a car accident when your children were in the car with you, contact a Houma car accident lawyer.
Car Seat Requirements by Age
Children outgrow car seats almost as quickly as they outgrow clothes. Louisiana law imposes the following requirements for children’s car seats, based on the child’s age:
- Babies and toddlers below the age of 2 must ride in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat. The car seat must be secured to the car by seat belts and have a safety restraint system adjusted to fit the child properly.
- Children between the ages of 2 and 4 must ride in front-facing car seats in the back seat. The same requirements apply about safety restraints and securing the child seat in your car.
- Children between the ages of 4 and 9 must ride in booster seats in the back seat. These do not need their own safety harnesses; the child can use the car’s own seatbelt when riding in a booster seat.
If the child is still below the maximum height and weight limit for the rear facing seat on their second birthday, the child should continue to ride in the rear-facing seat until they outgrow it.
No Riding Shotgun Until the Eighth Grade
In many states, children can ride in the front seat as soon as they outgrow their booster seats, or at least once they learn their multiplication tables, but Louisiana’s child car safety laws are even more cautious than most. Children above the age of nine no longer need a booster seat, but they can only ride in the back seat until they reach the age of 13. In other words, most kids in Louisiana have braces the first time they ride shotgun. Meanwhile, they only get a few years of riding in the front passenger seat before they can get a restricted driver’s license and enroll in driver’s ed.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick H. Yancey About Car Accidents Involving Children
A car accident lawyer can help you if you were injured in a car accident when a child was with you in the car. Contact the Law Office of Patrick H. Yancey in Houma, Louisiana to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit.