Keeping Kids Safe in Your Vehicle
A recent survey by WalletHub ranked Louisiana as the 49th safest state based on road safety, emergency preparedness and personal and residential safety. It’ sad to see yet another dubious distinction for our state. The attorneys at the law offices of Joseph Joy and Associates in Lafayette hope a new law enacted by the 2019 Louisiana Legislature will do more to protect our most precious citizens: our children.
Louisiana is enacting new child safety seat laws to prevent injuries to our little ones. Parents should read them closely because they change how your child is secured in a vehicle. As of Aug. 1, 2019, any child who is younger than 2 years old must be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat until they reach its weight or height limit. A child cannot ride in the front seat until they are 13 years old. That’s quite a change that parents will want to discuss with their young teenagers to fully explain the new law.
Act #61/SB 76 does a lot: it amends and reenact La. R.S. 32:295(A), relative to child passenger restraint systems to increase the age a child shall be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat; to increase the age a child shall be restrained in a forward-facing child safety seat; to increase the age a child shall be restrained in a child booster seat; to increase the age a child shall be restrained in an adult safety belt; and to require that a child under a certain age is restrained in the rear seat of a motor vehicle. Below is the gist of the law.
New Louisiana Child Safety Seat Law
- Children under the age of 2 – must be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat.
- A child who is at least 2 years old and has outgrown the rear-facing seat will need to be restrained in a forward-facing restraint system with an internal harness.
- A 4-year-old child who has outgrown the forward facing, internal harness system shall be restrained in a belt-positioning child booster seat.
- At nine year’s old, children who have outgrown the booster seat may use the adult safety belt fastened correctly.
- Under 13 years old – Ride in the back seat of the car, if rear seats are available.
- A child who can be placed in more than one category shall use the more protective one.
Sound complicated? Buckle Up Louisiana was good enough to distill it down to a simple graphic. The safety of a child in a vehicle is paramount. Be sure and read the new law closely. According to a 2018 study by the Center for Disease Control, car accidents are one of the leading causes of death and injury for young children in America, with over 100,000 being injured per year. If you or a loved one has had a child injured in a car accident, it’s important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney, like Joseph Joy. It’s been shown that child restraints and seat belts are an important part of reducing injury overall. In 2016, 35% of children under 12 who perished in car accidents were not buckled up, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. (NHTSA). Furthermore, it’s critical to be sure that your seat is installed properly. Another study by the NHTSA found that incorrect configuration of a car seat is very common, with 46% of the car seats observed having been installed in a way that would be likely to increase harm to a child should there be an accident. In Louisiana, there are a number of resources available to ensure that your car seat is installed correctly, and will be effective in reducing your child’s risk of personal injury. Child Safety Seat Inspections are conducted every Wednesday at Louisiana State Police Troop I from 8:00 A.M. until 12:00 P.M., or by appointment. Troop I is conveniently located in Lafayette Parish at the intersection of Pont Des Mouton and Interstate 49. Troop I encompasses eight (8) individual Louisiana parishes.
For appointments call: TFC Thomas Gossen
Reducing your risk of personal injury is the most important step, but if you or your child have been injured in a car accident, please call us at 337-832-8123. The law offices of Joseph Joy and Associates can ensure you get proper legal representation, and the compensation you deserve.