A Summary of Child Car Seat Laws in Louisiana
- The state of Louisiana requires children to ride on rear-facing child-safety seats until the age of at least 2 years.
- The law allows children 2-4 years who have exceeded the rear-facing seat requirements to ride on a forward-facing car seat with an internal harness.
- Louisiana requires children ages 4-9 to ride on a booster seat.
- The law states that all children under 13 years should ride in the back seat at all times.
Rear-facing Car Seat Laws in Louisiana
Louisiana car seat laws require children to ride on rear-facing child-safety seats until the age of at least 2 years. This includes rear-facing infant seats and convertible seats. However, the state also insists children should exceed the maximum height and weight requirements of rear-facing seats before graduating to the next seat. With convertible and 3-in-1 seats having weight limits of up to 40 pounds, your child may exceed the seat’s limit when closer to age 4. Rear-facing seats should always be placed in the rear of the car and away from airbags. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) encourages parents to not be in a rush to transition their children, as the main goal is to keep a child rear-facing for as long as possible.
Forward Facing Car Seat Laws in Louisiana
The law allows children at least 2 years old who have exceeded the rear-facing seat requirements to graduate to a forward-facing car seat with an internal harness. The law requires children to remain in this seat until at least the age of 4 years. However, most seats can support children of up to 65 pounds. This means your child may still be within the manufacturer’s weight and height limits until he or she is closer to age 8. Ensure your child is secured in the back seat at all times. The harness straps should have a firm fit above your child’s collar bone to avoid excessive movement during a car crash.
Booster Seat Regulations in Louisiana
Louisiana requires children ages 4-9 to ride on a booster seat. They should also exceed the manufacturer’s forward-facing seat requirements before transitioning to this type of seat. The seat must be secured with the shoulder belts and lap belts (never use lap belts only). A belt-positioning booster seat is designed to raise a child so that the seat belts can fit properly. The shoulder belt should lie flat across the chest, and the lap belt should be secured in the same manner across the upper thighs. You can graduate your child to seat belts once he or she exceeds the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements. Most experts agree that you should only transition your child once he or she weighs 80 pounds or more and has a height of 4’9”. Also, the state insists on children passing the 5 step test before wearing seat belts. The test says a child’s back should be straight against the back of the seat, the knees should bend at the edge of the seat while touching the floor, the lap belt should snugly lie across the upper thighs (not the stomach), the shoulder belt should snugly lie across the chest area, and, the child should ride without unnecessarily unbuckling the seat belt.
Requirements for children to use the front seat in Louisiana
The law clearly states that all children under 13 years should ride in the back seat at all times if available. This is in line with most experts who agree the front seat exposes children to a greater risk of injury. This is because airbags installed in the front seat are designed for average-sized adults and can be lethal to children when deployed during an accident.
Law on leaving a child in a car in Louisiana
It is illegal to leave a child unsupervised in a car. You can be fined $500 or be imprisoned for up to 6 months for the first offense. For the second offense, you can be jailed for 1 year and have a fine of $1000 be imposed on you. We recommend to never leave a child unattended in a vehicle alone.
Law on Smoking in a car with child passengers in Louisiana
It is illegal to smoke in a car while a child is present.
Car Seat Laws regarding Taxis in Louisiana
The law does not require taxis to comply with the Louisiana car seat laws.
Law on Car Seat Replacement in Louisiana
There is no law that covers the replacement of child-safety seats. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends replacing your car seat after a major accident or if the seat is past the expiration date set by the manufacturer.