A Summary of Child Car Seat Laws in Kentucky
- Infants under 1 year who weigh less than 21 pounds are required to ride on federally approved rear-facing seats.
- Kentucky allows children who weigh 20 pounds or more and older than 1 year to graduate to a forward-facing car seat.
- Children younger than 8 years with a height between 40 and 57 inches should be secured with a federally approved booster seat.
- The back seat is the safest for children younger than 13 years.
Rear-facing Car Seat Laws in Kentucky
The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety requires infants under 1 year who weigh less than 21 pounds to ride on federally approved rear-facing seats. However, they further advise parents to keep using this type of seat until the baby is at least 18-24 months old. When using convertible seats, it is recommended to keep your child rear-facing until they exceed the seat’s height and weight requirements. With most seats supporting children of up to 40 pounds, your child may probably remain in this seat until he or she is closer to age 4. The seat should always be placed in the back seat. Also, ensure your child is secured with the harness straps according to the manufacturer’s manual.
Forward Facing Car Seat Laws in Kentucky
Kentucky allows children who weigh 20 pounds or more and older than 1 year to graduate to a forward-facing car seat. However, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety still insists on children exceeding the rear-facing limits first before transitioning. The law also states children with a height of 40 inches or less should be secured with the appropriate federally approved child restraint system. This means your child should remain on a rear-facing seat until they reach or exceed this height. Seats of this type can also support up to 65 pounds, and some kids may achieve this weight when closer to age 7. This means the appropriate age range for this type of seat is 4-7 years. Ensure your child is properly secured with the harness straps (check the accompanying manual) and that the seat is installed in the rear of the vehicle.
Booster Seat Regulations in Kentucky
Kentucky car seat law requires children younger than 8 years with a height between 40 and 57 inches to be secured with a federally approved booster seat. Booster seats are designed to raise the child so that regular safety belts can fit properly. For a proper fit, the lap belt should lie low on the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt should be reasonably tight above the collarbone. In case your car does not have shoulder belts, you should note experts discourage the use of booster seats with lap belts only. Children can transition to seat belts after they exceed the booster seat maximum weight and height limits. The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety recommends keeping children in booster seats until they weigh at least 80 pounds. However, most experts agree the height holds more weight since a height of 4’9” is needed to fit in seat belts. The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety says you can graduate your child to a seat belt if they can sit with their back straight against the back of the seat and knees bent at the edge of the seat without slouching.
Requirements for children to use the front seat in Kentucky
There is no specific law in Kentucky that covers front seat requirements for children. However, the state allows children of at least 8 years who have a height of 57 inches to ride in a car while wearing seat belts. This means it is not illegal for your child to sit in the front seat as long as he or she is wearing a seat belt. But according to the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, the front seat exposes children to potential injury, regardless of whether an airbag is present or not. The office also insists the back seat is the safest for children younger than 13 years.
Law on leaving a child in a car in Kentucky
If you leave your child unsupervised inside a car, and he or she gets injured or dies, you can be charged with felony manslaughter.
Law on Smoking with a child in a car in Kentucky
Generally, you are allowed to smoke in a car with child passengers. However, some places like Shepherdsville deem it illegal to do so. So to better understand the local laws, make sure to check with your local health department.
Car Seat Laws regarding Taxis in Kentucky
No law forces taxi drivers to comply with Kentucky car seat laws.
Law on Car Seat Replacement in Kentucky
The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety says that you should replace your car seat if it is older than 6 years or if it is past the manufacturer’s expiration date. Also, seats must be replaced after a moderate or severe car accident.