Children have a much higher risk of acquiring injuries in the event of a car or traffic accident.
Ensuring their children’s safety and protection should be every parent’s priority — and car seats can help improve a child’s security while on the road.
This is why parents need to get their kids’ age-appropriate car seats installed.
But whether you’re a parent or not, it’s important to know the Alabama car seat laws. This way, you can keep, not only the children but also yourself, safe.
Today, we take a look at the state-specific car seat laws in Alabama for 2022. We also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about these laws.
So buckle up and let’s go!
Car Seat Laws for Adults
That’s right, car seat laws are not only for children.
Section 32-5B-4 of the Alabama code requires front-seat occupants to properly fasten their seatbelts around their bodies while the vehicle is in motion. However, it’s important that everyone in the vehicle — including the passengers in the back — wear theirs, too.
In a survey conducted by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, researchers found that drivers had a higher chance of dying in a car crash if the passenger directly behind them were unbuckled.
This is why making sure that everyone is strapped in is, therefore, just as much for your safety as it is for theirs.
Car Seat Laws for Children
According to Section 32-5-222 of the Alabama Code, parents who are driving a motor vehicle with their children on the highway, roadways, or streets are required to provide appropriate protective equipment, such as a child passenger restraint system.
The following fall under the category of “motor vehicle” in this sense:
- Passenger cars
- Pickup trucks
Depending on your child’s age and weight, the car seat type you need will vary.
Experts recommend getting car seats or convertible seats that are rear-facing for infants until they reach 1 year old or at least 20 pounds. On the other hand, forward-facing seats are recommended for children that are at least 5 years old or 40 pounds.
Children that are 5 to 6 are advised to sit in booster seats. Meanwhile, seatbelts are good enough already for children who are older than 6. Just make sure they are belted comfortably.
Parents who are caught not complying with Alabama car seat laws will be fined $25 for each offense that they make.
But the real punishment is if something does happen to their children if they get into a collision and/or accident.
Importance of Car Seat Laws
Children are much weaker than adults; they have softer bones, more fragile skin, and weaker muscles. Road accidents that involve children typically result in severe injury and even death.
According to statistics, children acquire injuries after a traffic accident as a result of being thrown against the dashboard, catapulted out of the vehicle, or crushed by another adult.
This is why Alabama state laws restrict children under 13 years of age to the backseat. Furthermore, they should have the proper child restraints around them to keep them secure while on the road.
Car seats are made to:
- Prevent a child from getting thrown out of a vehicle
- Resist force created from an impact
- Keep the child secure in his seat
- Distribute force from a crash throughout the child’s whole body
- Keep the child from getting crushed by other passengers
How to Install Child Safety Seats
If you’re struggling to figure out how to install your child’s safety seat in your car, don’t worry.
Almost all parents have trouble installing their first child car seat.
Below, we’ll give you tips you can follow when installing child safety seats for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
How to install infant and toddler car seats
Infants and toddlers are recommended to use the rear-facing seat until they reach the height and weight limit set by the manufacturers. Car seats typically come with the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. Typically, you’ll have to conduct the following steps:
Rear-facing seats normally come with two separate parts: the carrier and the base. Remove the carrier from the base and set it aside for your baby. Once you’ve removed that part, install the base to your car by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Now, you’ll want to anchor or secure the base to the car. Most car seats have a belt with two hooks attached to their base that latch onto designated spots in the car. Check manufacturer instructions again to make sure you attach them to the right areas.
If the car seat you’re using doesn’t use the anchor system, it should include a seat belt latch plate at the bottom of the base. Take this and insert it into the buckle on your car.
Once the base is properly secured, reinstall the carrier. You should hear a “click” after you reattach the carrier to the base.
Adjust the angle of the seat to ensure optimum protection and comfort for your baby.
How to install preschooler car seats
Preschoolers can finally use forward-facing seats with a harness. This can go well until your child reaches the height and weight limit of their car seat. Here’s how you can properly install preschooler car seats into your car:
Forward-facing car seats should have small slots or openings where the seatbelt can pass through. Do this and buckle the belt on the other side to secure the car seat in place.
Car seats for preschoolers also come with a short tether that stretches from the top of the carrier all the way down to the back of the car seat. This tether will have a hook or clasp that latches onto an anchor located behind the seat. You can check your vehicle manual to locate the anchor.
Tighten the tether and proceed to the next step.
Your preschooler’s car seat should come with its own set of latches that fit snuggly into the car’s seatbelt buckles. Secure the latch plates on both sides of the car seat and tighten the belts to keep the car seat in place.
Your child should now be safe and comfortable while you drive.
Are Backless Booster Seats Allowed in Alabama?
According to the Alabama Code from 2006, children aged 8 and older are allowed to use backless booster seats. They may also use shoulder or lap seat belts as an alternative.
Are Back Passengers Required to Wear Seat Belts in Alabama?
Residents traveling in a vehicle in the state of Alabama are required to wear a seat belt, regardless of where they are sitting. In other words, back passengers are expected to adhere to these laws or otherwise be inflicted with fines and tickets.
Every parents’ priority should be their children’s safety — especially when on the road. By sticking with the Alabama car seat laws, you should be able to enjoy a comfortable and safe drive with your kids.
Don’t ever think that your children are fine without car seats. You don’t want to know what happens if you get into an accident and they are not secured.
So we hope that this article has helped you understand the car seat laws in Alabama.
This article is part of our series on Alabama Driving Laws. You can view all these laws here!