A Summary of Child Car Seat Laws in Mississippi
- Children younger than 4 years should be restrained with the appropriate child restraint device.
- Children should ride rear-facing until they are at least 2 years old.
- Forward-facing car seats can be used by children who have exceeded the rear-facing limits.
- Mississippi law requires children 4 years or older but less than 7 years old, who have a height of less than 4’9” or weight less than 65 pounds to ride on booster seats.
- The state recommends children sit in the rear of a car until age 13.
Mississippi Safety Seat Law
Mississippi safety seat law states that children younger than 4 years should be restrained with the appropriate child restraint device that meets the federal motor vehicle safety standards (this includes rear-facing and forward-facing car seats).
Rear-facing Car Seat Laws in Mississippi
While there are no official specific requirements for rear-facing seats, the Mississippi State Department of Health recommends children should ride rear-facing until they are at least 2 years old or until they exceed the car seat manufacturer’s maximum height and weight requirements. Typically, most seats support children of up to 40 pounds. This allows parents to keep their children rear-facing for a longer period (up to 4 years). This is in line with AAP’s (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommendation, which also states that the rear-facing position is the safest for children because their delicate body parts such as the neck and spine are protected from injury. Make sure your child is secured in the back seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Forward Facing Car Seat Laws in Mississippi
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, children who have exceeded the rear-facing seat limits should ride on a forward-facing seat equipped with a harness until they exceed the car seat manufacturer’s weight and height guidelines. With manufacturers making seats that can support children of up to 65 pounds, some children may remain forward-facing until age 7 while still within the limits. Seats of this type can be secured with a combination of harness straps and tether, safety belts, lap-only seat belts, or latch system. The harness straps should be snug at or above your child’s collarbone for maximum protection. If you’re not sure, check the manual or do the pinch test. A pass in this test means you’re not able to pinch extra strap material at or above the collarbone. Secure the seat in the rear of the car at all times and away from a functional airbag.
Booster Seat Regulations in Mississippi
Mississippi requires children 4 years or older but less than 7 years old, who have a height of less than 4’9” or weight less than 65 pounds to ride on federally approved booster seats. This type of seat raises a child so that they can fit in lap-shoulder belts. The lap portion should lie flat across the upper thighs (not stomach), and the shoulder portion should lie snug across the chest. The seat should not be secured with lap-only seat belts. There are two different types of booster seats, high-back, and backless booster seats. In case your vehicle does not have headrests, then using the high-back booster seat is recommended to avoid exposing your child to potential neck injuries. Backless is suitable if you have headrests equipped. While the law outlines several guidelines for booster seats, most experts agree that the decision to graduate a child to a safety belt should be made with height in mind rather than age and weight. This is because seat belts are designed for people 4’9” or taller. So anyone under this height may be too small to fit in seat belts. For a child to be ready for seat belts, he or she should be able to sit with his or her back straight against the back of the seat and with knees bent at the edge of the seat without slouching.
Requirements for Children to use the Front Seat in Mississippi
The state does not have any official requirements for children to sit in the front seat. However, there is a law that says rear-facing seats should not be installed in the front seat. The state also recommends children to sit in the rear of a car until age 13. This is supported by most experts who say the back seat is generally safer regardless of whether airbags are not installed in the front seat.
Additional Mississippi Booster Seat Regulation
In an instance where a car has only two lap-shoulder belts in the rear seat, and more than 2 children who are supposed to use booster seats are being transported, the law says only the 2 children with lap-shoulder belts are allowed to use booster seats. The remaining children can be secured with safety seat lap belts. We recommend that every child should be in a car seat appropriate for their weight and height.
Law on leaving a child in a car in Mississippi
No law covers situations where children are left in vehicles. We do not recommend leaving your child unattended in a vehicle for any length of time.
Law on Smoking in a car with a child in Mississippi
The state tried to pass a bill that would have made it illegal to smoke in a car with child passengers. However, the bill failed to pass, so it is not illegal to smoke in a car with a child. It is not recommended to smoke with a child passenger in the vehicle.
Car Seat Law Exemptions in Mississippi
According to the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety, children riding in cars for hire such as taxis and limousines and those riding with a peace officer on duty are not required to comply with the car seat laws. Children riding in emergency vehicles with medical situations that make it unsuitable to use child-safety seats are also exempted. For those with disabilities, physical issues, or any other medical issue to be exempted, they have to be certified by a physician as having a condition that makes the use of child restraint devices inappropriate.
Law on Car Seat Replacement in Mississippi
There is no official law regarding the replacement of car seats. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends replacing car seats after a moderate or severe accident. Also, manufacturers usually have expiry dates for their seats, so be sure to check them.
More Mississippi Laws