Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children aged 1-13. Between 2016-2019, more than 110 children under the age of 14 died in car crashes in Louisiana. The good news is nearly 100% of Lake Charles residents used child safety seats for children aged 1-3, according to a 2017 Louisiana Highway Safety Commission survey. The bad news is 22% of children aged 6-12 were not using a child seatbelt.
The stats are worse in other parts of the state. This has all prompted the creation of new seat belt laws.
In August 2019, the following law went into effect:
- Children 2 and under MUST ride in a rear-facing, rear seat child safety seat. (Under the old law, children under the age of 2 who weighed at least 20 lbs. could ride in a forward-facing child seat.)
- Children from 2 to 3 MUST ride in the rear seat in a forward-facing child seat with an internal seat belt.(Under the old law, children under the age of 5 who weighed at least 40 lbs. could ride in a booster seat).
- Children from 4 and 9 MUST ride in the rear seat in a booster seat, unless they can show they fit the car’s seat properly based on manufacturer height requirements. (Under the old law, children aged 6 and up and weighing at least 60 lbs. could ride without a booster seat.)
- All children under the age of 13 MUST ride in the back when rear seats are available. (Under the old law, children aged 12 could ride in the front seat.)
For more information, please refer to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. Our article is meant solely as a summary of the law, not a replacement.