Kentucky Car Seat Laws
Correctly using a car seat can save a child’s life in an auto accident. Aside from being important for protecting a child from harm, car seats are also a requirement by law in Kentucky. Breaking Kentucky’s car seat laws could lead to a traffic ticket for the driver, serious or fatal injuries to the child, and even potential criminal charges for reckless endangerment. Learn Kentucky’s car seat laws to help keep your family safe.
Which Children Must Use Car Seats in Kentucky?
Research shows that car seats are 71% effective in reducing fatal injuries in infants under one year old and 54% effective for children one to four. The law from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet states that all children who are 40 inches tall or less must be properly restrained in the correct type of child safety seat. When a child measures between 40 inches and 50 inches, and that child is younger than 7, he or she must use a booster seat. Failing to obey Kentucky’s car seat law can result in up to $50 per violation for a car seat and $30 for a booster seat.
Different Car Seats as a Child Grows
It is not enough to simply restrain a child who is less than 40 inches. As a parent, legal guardian or driver with kids in the car, you must make sure to use the correct type of car seat. Failing to use the correct type of seat could fail to protect the child in a car accident. Kentucky’s car seat laws list the following requirements:
- Rear-facing infant car seat. From the time of birth to the car seat’s maximum weight limit, the child should remain in a rear-facing car seat. Typically, the maximum weight limit is 20 pounds.
- Forward-facing infant car seat. A child will transition to a forward-facing car seat at around 20 pounds, typically from 18 to 24 months old. The child should stay in this seat until reaching its maximum weight limit (often, 40 pounds).
- Booster seat. When a child reaches 40 pounds or the maximum, the law recommends using a booster seat. A booster seat lifts a small child to the proper height to correctly use the seat belt. A child should remain in a booster seat until he or she turns 8 and is at least 57 inches in height.
- Seat belt. When a child graduates from a booster seat, he or she should wear a seat belt. A child is only ready to use a seat belt without a booster seat when the belt properly sits across the child’s thighs and collarbone.
The back seat is the safest place for a child passenger. Having a small child in the front passenger seat could put him or her at risk of a serious injury due to the passenger-side airbag. Your child should remain seated in the back until he or she is at least 13 years old.
Kentucky Car Seat Frequently Asked Questions
Kentucky’s car seat laws can be complicated and difficult to understand, especially for new parents. If you plan on traveling with a small child in your vehicle, use these frequently asked questions for assistance.
- How tight should the harness straps be? You should not be able to fit more than one finger between the strap and your child’s collarbone.
- What if I cannot afford a car seat? If you cannot afford a car seat, there are programs in Kentucky that can set you up with a free child safety system. Do not purchase a seat used, as it could have safety defects.
- How do I know when to replace my car seat? Pay attention to the size and weight limits on the seat to know when to upgrade. If your car seat is older than six years or has been involved in a crash, replace it.
Obeying Kentucky’s car seat laws is critical – not just to avoid a ticket, but to safeguard your child. If you need assistance adhering to Kentucky’s car seat laws, attend a free checkpoint near you. There are trained professionals available to help you put your child in the right seat.