Louisiana updated its child safety seat laws in August 2019. According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, the state developed the changes in response to an increase in auto accident deaths among children ages 14 and younger.
Familiarize yourself with the new car seat laws to help protect your children if a collision occurs.
Birth to ages 2 and up
All infants and toddlers must ride in a rear-facing car seat. Under the new law, children should remain in a rear-facing car seat until they turn 2 years old and reach either the weight or height limit for the safety seat.
At least age 2 to ages 4 and up
Preschool-age kids in this category can ride in a forward-facing seat after they outgrow the rear-facing seat. The new seat should have an internal five-point harness. Continue to use the forward-facing seat until your child reaches its height or weight limit.
At least age 4 to age 9
Kids who are too big for a forward-facing five-point harness graduate to a booster seat. This type of seat works with your vehicle’s regular seat belt so that it fits your child correctly. A child should no longer use a booster seat once he or she turns 9 and passes the state’s five-step test:
- Child sits up straight and completely back in the seat
- Seat belt fits correctly
- Shoulder strap across the child’s chest, not his or her neck
- Lap belt snug against the child’s lower hips and upper thighs
- Child’s knees meet the edge of the vehicle seat when bent
Your child must pass all five steps to discontinue the use of a booster seat. Many children require a booster until ages 10 to 12, especially those who are small for their ages.
Even when your child can ride without a booster, he or she should remain in the back seat until at least age 13. The front seat airbag can seriously injure younger, smaller children if a collision occurs.
If you are unsure whether you have installed your car seat correctly, look for a free event hosted by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. At these sessions, child safety seat specialists will check your child’s seat.