According to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, car crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. children and adolescents.
The state of Arkansas desires to help parents keep children safe, and that’s why Arkansas Code includes laws regarding seat belts, car seats, and how children and teens can safely ride in vehicles.
Arkansas Transportation and Car Seat Laws for Children Up to Age 16
- All children under age 16 must be properly secured in a vehicle.
- Children under age six and weighing less than 60 pounds must ride in a car seat.
- For children ages 5-8 and under 4’9”, a booster seat is appropriate.
- Children ages 6-15 and weighing 60 pounds or more must wear a seat belt.
- It is illegal to smoke in a car with a passenger under the age of 14.
If an officer suspects you or a passenger is not wearing a seatbelt, you can be pulled over.
Driving without a seatbelt is a primary offense in Arkansas.
If a child is not restrained properly, you can be fined $25-$100.
Best Car Seat Practices for Child Transportation Safety
- In order to ride in the front seat, a child needs to be at least 13 years old AND weigh at least 80 pounds AND be 4’9” tall or taller.
- Keep babies and toddlers in rear-facing seats as long as possible. Most children can safely be turned forward facing by the age of three.
- Once forward facing, children should stay in forward facing car seats until they reach the height and weight restrictions of their particular car seat.
- Once a child outgrows their forward facing car seat, they should graduate to a booster seat.
- Children should continue to use a booster seat until they are 4’9” tall. Some kids may require the use of a booster until they are 12 years old.
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Correct Use and Installation of Car Seats
More often than not, car seats are improperly installed and/or children are buckled into their seats incorrectly. To correctly use and install your child’s car seat, consider the following:
- Do not fasten a seatbelt over a thick winter coat. This can result in the straps being insecure to hold your child’s body in place.
- Every six years replace your car seats, even if you haven’t been involved in an accident.
- If you are involved in a car accident where an airbag deploys, there is more than minor damage to the vehicle, or the door next to the car seat is damaged, replace the car seat.
- Never purchase car seats second hand unless you can be certain the car seat is newer than six years old and it has never been involved in a crash.
- Rear facing seats should be installed at the correct angle. The rear facing car seat should be at a 45 degree incline for infants and a 30 degree incline for older babies.
For further installation tips, car seat recommendations and comparisons, car seat and booster seat safety ratings, and more, check out this post by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital provides car seat check-up appointments in Little Rock, Monday through Friday 8:30 AM- 4:30 PM, based on staff availability.
A Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) evaluates the car seat currently in use, checks to ensure it is appropriate based on child’s age and weight, ensures correct installation, and answers questions.
Make sure your family and vehicle are protected in the event of a collision. Contact M&P Insurance today to ensure your car insurance policy is up to date and your coverage needs are met. We can’t wait to hear from you!