Breaking down the state’s car seat regulations so you can be sure that you’re keeping your child safe on the road this year.
Child Occupant Seatbelt (R.S. 32:295)
Children under the age of 6 years or less than 60 lbs. must be in a child restraint system or booster seat that is age and size appropriate, in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations. Children 6 to 12 years of age must be restrained by a lap belt, shoulder harness, or an age / size appropriate child safety or booster seat.
Most people think it's easy to simply click a car seat into a car. Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, and choose one that fits comfortably in your vehicle. Refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions or the owner’s manual for instructions on how to install the car seat correctly using the seat belt or LATCH system, and make sure to double check height/weight limits.
Child Restraint Affidavit (R.S. 32:414T)
The department shall send written notification to the driver to inform them of a 30-day allowance for the driver to show an affidavit for proof that an appropriate child safety seat has been obtained.
Following the 30 day period, if no affidavit has been provided, the Department shall suspend the license of any person upon notification of the first or second conviction, until such time as he provides the department with a notarized affidavit stating he has acquired an approved age- or size-appropriate child restraint system where applicable and has complied with all other requirements of reinstatement as provided by law and department regulation.
Many technicians agree that most if not all car seats are installed incorrectly by consumers. Once you purchase the correct seat for your child, bring your seat in to make sure it was set up properly. You can check with your local healthcare provider to see if they offer free car seat safety checks. In addition to registering your car seat, you can also sign up to receive e-mail alerts about car seat and booster seat recalls from NHTSA. SaferCar.gov also offers a handy website where you can register your car seat in order to give the manufacturer the ability to contact you about safety notices and other important information.
CHILD SAFETY SEAT AFFIDAVIT
In accordance with R.S. 32:414T, the department shall suspend the license of any person upon notification of the first or second conviction under R.S. 32:295, until such time as he provides the department with a notarized affidavit stating he has acquired an approved age- or size-appropriate child restraint system.
If your car seat is recalled, make sure to get it fixed right away! If you don’t have another car seat or booster seat to use, keep using the recalled seat while you wait for the repair kit if the recall notice says you can. While using a recalled car seat/booster seat is almost always safer than letting a child ride in just a seat belt, make sure to address the issue as soon as possible.
For more information on how to have your car seat checked by an Ochsner expert, email the author at email@example.com