In 2006, the state of Kansas enacted a law that stated all children ages four to eight must be in a booster seat while riding in a moving vehicle. Kansas car seat Laws regarding children younger than four years of age were already on the books. Kansas is a primary seatbelt law state, which means the authorities can pull you over if anyone in the front seat isn’t wearing a seatbelt, even if you have no other violation against you at the time. The fine for the first offense is around $60, not including the court costs.
The state also recommends that all young children ride in the back seat of the vehicle, although this isn’t an actual law. The primary seatbelt law wasn’t enacted until June of 2010, and it applies to the driver and front-seat passenger, as well as passengers in the back seat under the age of 18. It is also a law in Kansas that all manufacturers of seatbelts carry full warranties on the seatbelts for 10 years, which is another way of keeping citizens safer while in their cars.
Laws for Rear-Facing Car Seats
Kansas car seat laws require that all babies ages one and under be placed in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of the vehicle. Rear-facing car seats do a much better job of supporting a baby’s head, shoulder, and spine in the case of an accident, so if you keep your child in this type of car seat even longer, he or she will be as safe as possible the entire time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently came out with a recommendation that babies should be kept in rear-facing car seats until the age of two, so if your brand of car seat accommodates this, you should adhere to this recommendation.
Speaking of car seat makers, it is always recommended that you stick to their suggestions and keep your child in the seat until the age and/or weight mentioned in the owner’s manual. Every car seat is different, and the manufacturer can easily provide you with the right age and weight so that your child is as safe as possible.
Laws for Front-Facing Car Seats
The state has determined that all babies under the age of four should be in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible. This usually means keeping them in one of these seats until the age of two and possibly longer. Once the child meets the minimum age and weight associated with the next level, you can start using a front-facing car seat. You should make sure that the car seat has a five-point harness system and keep them in this type of car seat until around the age of four.
Laws for Booster Seats
Booster seats are generally used starting at the age of four, but there are a few things to keep in mind before switching to these. To be successful and as safe as possible, children should meet the following requirements before being placed in a booster seat:
- The ability to keep their feet planted firmly on the floor of the vehicle
- The ability to rest their back firmly against the back of the vehicle seat
- The ability to keep their legs bent comfortably across the seat
- The ability to remain still for the entire car ride
If your child doesn’t meet these requirements, it is likely best to switch back to a front-facing car seat for a bit longer. There is nothing wrong with keeping a child older than five years of age in a front-facing car seat, because his or her safety is what counts the most.
You should also pay attention to the type of booster seat you choose. Full-back booster seats should be used for vehicles with no headrests, while backless booster seats must be used only with vehicles with proper headrests. The child’s head and neck have to be supported in the case of a crash, so determining the type of headrest in your vehicle is the first thing you should do before shopping for a booster seat.
Height and Weight Requirements
The only actual height and weight requirement is for children who are able to use standard seatbelts. This requirement states that once a child reaches 80 pounds or is 4’9” in height, he or she can utilize a regular adult-type seatbelt instead of a car or booster seat. The state’s basic requirements can be recapped this way:
- Babies under 1 year old: a rear-facing car seat is required
- Babies 1-4 years of age: kept in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible
- Children 4-8 years of age: booster seat
- Children 8-14: must be wearing a seatbelt whenever they’re in a moving vehicle
The state also has inspection stations available throughout the state for parents who wish to check their car seats and make sure they meet all safety standards. This is highly recommended for everyone, but especially for new parents or those who have just purchased a brand-new car seat.
Laws for Seatbelts
Seatbelts are required for all riders under the age of 18, as well as the driver and the front-seat passenger whenever the vehicle is moving. However, it is also important to wear your seatbelt properly, which means the shoulder belt needs to fit snugly across the chest and not the neck, and the lap belt should fit snugly across the thigh area and not the abdomen. The use of a lap belt only is not allowed in the state of Kansas, unless you have an older vehicle that was made without seatbelts in it.
There are also some exemptions to these seatbelt and car seat laws, as they do not apply to post office vehicles, taxicabs, vehicles carrying more than 10 passengers, motorcycles, farm vehicles registered for more than 16,000 pounds, and a few other types of vehicles. In addition, if your child is disabled and cannot wear a seatbelt, you must have a written statement testifying to this, and it must be signed by a doctor or other healthcare professional and carried with you every time you get into the vehicle.