Want to ensure your child is protected while traveling?
Want to keep you and your passengers safe?
Then you must use the provided safety restraints — car seats and seat belts.
This is not even an option.
Louisiana implements both car seat and seat belt laws.
And today, we’re going to take a look at the Louisiana car seat laws, as well as the seat belt law.
On top of that, we’ll also look at the penalties and the importance of these safety restraints.
So buckle up and let’s go!
Car Seat Laws in Louisiana
According to the state’s Child Passenger Restraint Law, these are the required car seats for children:
- Month-old babies or children below 20 pounds: rear-facing car seat that is federally approved
- 1-4 years old or at least 20 pounds but not more than 40 pounds: forward-facing car seat that is federally approved
- 4-6 years old or at least 40 pounds but not more than 60 pounds: booster seat with restraints
- 6 years old or more than 60 pounds: booster seat with restraints or seat belts
In short, children below 6 years old are required to be in a car seat or booster seat.
Now, if your child falls into two categories, then you must choose the more protective option.
For example, your child is 2 years old but weighs below 20 pounds. It’s highly recommended that you use a rear-facing car seat since it is the more protective option based on your child’s weight.
Car Seat Exemptions in Louisiana
Are there children exempted from being in a car seat?
Yes, there are exemptions to the Child Passenger Restraint Law. A child below 6 is exempted from this law if any of these conditions are applicable:
- If the motor vehicle is being used for emergencies
- If the motor vehicle is a taxi
- If the child has a medical condition that prevents them from using a car seat
If your child is unable to use a car seat because of medical conditions, you should have a medical certificate signed by a licensed physician. Always bring this certificate in the car in case a police officer stops you for not using a car seat.
Car Seat Penalties in Louisiana
Louisiana takes its car seat laws seriously. Violating the Child Passenger Restraint Law is a primary offense.
If you are caught not using the proper child restraint system, you will be penalized with the following:
- First offense: $100
- Second offense: $250-$500
- Subsequent offenses: $500 plus court fees
Seat Belt Law in Louisiana
Unlike the car seat laws, the seat belt law in Louisiana is very basic…
“All passengers of a motor vehicle are required to properly wear seat belts while it is moving, regardless if you sit at the front or back.”
The Proper Way to Wear a Seat Belt
As the law states, you must wear your seat belt PROPERLY. If not, then you can still get pulled over and ticketed.
Besides, a seat belt is only effective if it is worn properly.
Check the photo below to see the right way to wear a seat belt:
The seat belt should be fastened and snuggled on your chest and hips. The shoulder strap and the lap strap should be in their respective positions.
Don’t put the shoulder strap at the back of the seat as this removes the protection for your chest. Also, not wearing one strap properly decreases the capability of the seat belt to protect you in collisions.
Seat Belt Exemptions in Louisiana
In Louisiana, seat belts are not required in the following instances:
- If the car, truck, or sports utility vehicle was manufactured before January 1, 1981
- For farm vehicles being operated within 5 miles from the property of the owner
- A letter carrier service vehicle performing its duties
- A motor vehicle for the use of delivering newspaper (only when being used for this purpose)
- Vehicles used in the utility sector where the passenger’s duties require him/her to ride and go down the vehicle frequently. Vehicles used for this purpose should NOT be driving faster than 20 miles per hour.
- People who are not allowed to wear a seatbelt due to a medical condition, in which case they should have a medical certificate signed by a licensed physician.
Seat Belt Penalties in Louisiana
The seat belt is also a primary offense.
If you or your passengers are spotted not wearing a seatbelt, a police officer can ask you to stop. If so, these are the penalties you will face:
- First offense: $50
- Second offense: $75
- Subsequent offenses: $75 plus court fees
You must settle these fines right away because failure to pay them will lead to an arrest. This will also increase the fine that you have to pay.
Importance of Safety Restraints
These laws are not there to burden you — it is there to ensure your, your passenger, or your child’s safety.
This is something you should always remember.
Here are just some of the reasons why safety restraints are so important:
- It keeps you and your child in place when there is a collision. In strong collisions, there’s a chance that you will be thrown against the car doors or windshield – wearing a safety restraint prevents that from happening.
- Car seats provide extra protection from parts of the vehicle that might hit the child.
- Seat belts prevent you from being pushed forward in a collision. The belt keeps your body pressed against the seat, which serves as a support for your head and spine.
There’s no doubt that car seats and seat belts save lives. So you must always obey the Louisiana car seat laws and seat belt law.
Remember, obeying these laws is more than just avoiding the penalties — it’s also making sure that you travel in the safest way possible.
Now, it’s not enough that you know these laws; it’s much more important that you follow them.
So buckle up!