Like all other states, Louisiana has their own set of car seat laws that were created to keep children safe when traveling on the road. Understanding and following these laws will keep children safe in the car and will help parents and guardians avoid the fines that can occur when the law is broken.
Age and Weight Restrictions
The first thing to know about driving with a child in Louisiana is that you need to pay attention to the age and weight of a child. Children who are under six years old or weigh less than 60 pounds must always be secured in a proper car or booster seat or with a child restraint system. To ensure that children are safe, parents must follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when installing and using seats and systems.
Children who are between 6 and 12 years old have to use a lap belt or a booster or safety seat that is age appropriate.
All children who are under six years old or weigh less than 60 pounds must be in the back seat of a vehicle, if there is one available, if there is an activated front passenger side airbag. This is to ensure that the child is as safe as possible in the event of an accident.
What to Know About Rear Facing Car Seats
Using a rear facing car seat is the best way to keep very young children and infants safe when in an accident. Children who are under one year old or weigh less than 20 pounds must be secured in this type of seat at all times when on the road. It protects the child’s head and neck in an accident.
What to Know About Forward Facing Car Seats
Once a child has had their first birthday, then they are eligible to sit in a forward facing car seat. Children who are between one and four years old can switch to this type of seat instead of using a rear facing seat.
Additionally, children who are between 20 and 40 pounds must be secured in a seat that faces the front of the vehicle.
What to Know About Booster Seats
When children have their fourth birthday, then they are eligible to sit in a booster seat. Children who are between four and six years old and who weigh between 40 and 60 pounds can be secured in a booster seat.
These seats are designed to be used with shoulder and lap belts that are in the vehicle. Children who are about 40 pounds can be secured in their booster seat with only a lap belt, but this is only allowed when the vehicle doesn’t also have a shoulder belt. If there is a shoulder and lap belt combination, then that must be used for the child.
The Safety Belt
Once a child is six years old or weighs more than 60 pounds, they can be secured with just the vehicle’s safety belt.
Parents and guardians need to remember that it’s always best to err on the side of safety. This means that children who fall into more than one category should be secured in the most protective way possible to keep them safe.
Exceptions to the Louisiana Car Seat Law
There are some exceptions to the car seat law. If there are more children under 13 years old than there are safety belts or restraints available, then the unrestrained children can be placed in the back seat of the vehicle. There are also exceptions for children who have medical conditions that make restraining a child unfeasible or impractical.
Finally, some vehicles enjoy exceptions to the car seat law in Louisiana. RVs with a passenger capacity of more than 10 people, emergency vehicles, bicycles, motorcycles, tractors, school, private, and church buses, and trucks that have a carrying capacity of more than 2000 pounds are all exempt.
Understanding and following these laws ensures that children will be safe when on the road in Louisiana. The Louisiana Car Seat Laws were designed to keep children safe on the road, and parents and guardians have a responsibility to make sure that they follow it. Since the law is so clear as to what is expected for children of certain ages and weight, it’s easy to follow to keep children safe.