Every parent and caregiver is responsible to ensure that all children under their care are as safe as can be at all times. While riding in a motor vehicle, the only way to do this is to ensure the child is properly restrained.

Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. But many of these deaths can be prevented by properly using child car seats. Every parent and caregiver is responsible to ensure that all children under their care are as safe as can be at all times. While riding in a motor vehicle, the only way to do this is to ensure the child is properly restrained. Children under 13 years old don’t belong in the front seat!

Effective August 1, 2019, Louisiana has a new child passenger safety law. The updated laws mirror best practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. They are intended to keep children from prematurely graduating to the next level of restraint, which would make them less protected. 

The 2019 Louisiana Child Passenger Safety Law requires that:

--Children ride in a rear-facing car safety seat from birth to 2 years old in an infant or convertible child safety seat.

--When the child is at least 2 years old and outgrown their rear-facing seat by height or weight, they should remain in a forward-facing car safety with an internal harness.

--When the child is at least 4 years old and has outgrown their forward-facing, internal harness seat, they must ride restrained in a belt-positioning booster seat.

--When the child reaches 9 years old and has outgrown their booster seat and can pass the 5-step test (see the green graphic on this page), they should ride restrained with a lap shoulder belt secured correctly.

All children younger than 13 years should be properly restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.

Some additional car seat safety tips:

--Always follow your car seat’s height and weight limits.

--Make sure your car seat can be correctly installed in your vehicle.

--Keep the retainer clip (chest clip) fastened at armpit level – not over their belly.

--Be sure to check the weight limits on LATCH-fastened car seats. In order to use the LATCH system, the sum of the child’s weight and the weight of the car seat must be no more than 65 pounds. If the weight exceeds that, use a locking seat belt to secure your car seat.

--If you’re in doubt of which way your child should ride, choose the more protective category.

Contributed by Acadian Ambulance