Tennessee Car Seat Laws
Posted in Car accidents on February 21, 2023
If you operate a vehicle in Tennessee and have younger children on board, then you need to understand the car seat laws for this state. The safety of your children is of the utmost importance, and this is reflected by the laws put in place by the state legislature. Here, we want to review car seat laws and see how they differ depending on the child’s weight, height, and age. If you have any questions about whether or not you are using your car seat correctly, we encourage you to review the manufacturer’s instructions.
Children under 1 year of age or any child 20 pounds or less
If a child is under one year of age or weighs 20 pounds or less, Tennessee law requires them to be secured in a rear-facing child safety seat that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards. It is imperative for parents to ensure they have an approved car seat and that they install the car seat correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Children ages 1 through 3
Children ranging in ages from one through three, and those that weigh more than 20 pounds, must be secured in a child safety seat in a rear- or forward-facing position in the back seat of the vehicle.
Children ages 4 through 8
Children ranging in age from 4 through 8 and measuring at a height less than 4 feet 9 inches tall must be secured with a booster seat secured into place with a seat belt. It is important to point out that if the child is not between the ages of four and eight but is less than four feet nine inches tall, they are still required to use a booster seat that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards.
Children older than 8
In general, children older than eight years of age and measuring more than four feet 9 inches tall are required to be secured in a seat belt system installed in the vehicle. Standards recommend that children 12 years of age and younger ride in the rear seat of the vehicle. If the child is not between the ages of 9 and 12 but is at least four feet nine inches tall, they are required to use the seat belt system installed in the vehicle.
Penalties for not properly using a car seat
If a driver fails to secure a child in their vehicle adequately, they could be charged and fined up to $50 for a violation. In the event the parent or legal guardian of the child is in the car but is not the one driving, then the parent or legal guardian is the one responsible for ensuring the child is properly restrained for transport and could be fined for noncompliance.
Law enforcement officers who observe a violation of car seat laws are allowed to stop drivers for the violation. This is not a secondary violation situation where a citation can only be issued if a traffic stop has already occurred for another reason. They can stop a vehicle simply for the car seat violation.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact our Nashville, Tennessee car accident lawyers today.