Arkansas Car Seat Laws
Arkansas car seat laws require children to meet age and weight criteria before they can sit without a child restraint device such as a booster seat in a moving vehicle. These booster seat laws intend to ensure children’s safety by requiring certain restraints to shield them during accidents and by reducing the number of children in front seats at risk of serious injuries due to air bags.
The booster seat age that allows children to be unrestrained (except for a seat belt) differs for each state, so drivers and parents must know the laws that pertain to the state in which they are driving.
While car seat regulations are subject to change, the first federal child passenger laws were passed in the 1970s and have been enforced in some fashion in all 50 states since then. Parents and drivers can find current car seat safety information for AR in the following sections.
What are the car seat laws in Arkansas?
According to AR car seat rules, children younger than six years old must be seated in a suitable child restraint device while the vehicle is in motion. However, younger children may be permitted to ride without a car seat or other child restraint if they meet weight requirements.
The current booster seat weight requirement in the state is 60 pounds or more. At this weight, any child may use only a seat belt. Though, there are no height criteria specific to certain restraint devices. A clear explanation of all car seat ages and weights is as follows:
- Children younger than six years old and weighing less than 60 pounds must be restrained in a child restraint.
- Children older than six years old can ride without a child restraint but must wear a seat belt.
- Children younger than six years old and weighing more than 60 pounds can ride without a child restraint.
Despite these state laws, drivers and parents are encouraged to keep children in child restraints until they are 12 years old or outgrow the restraints. Additionally, although there are no AR laws against children sitting in the front seat in effect, it is safest for children to sit in the back seats.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in Arkansas
In AR, the penalties for violating car seat guidelines depend on the severity of the violation and the frequency of the offense. For instance, fines for failing to abide by booster seat weight requirements or age restrictions can be up to $100.
While drivers may be tempted to make a quick trip without securing a child passenger properly, they are reminded that law enforcement officers in AR can pull over any driver suspected of driving without having properly secured all children. This is because offenses are considered primary since 2009 as a part of the state seat belt law.
Types of Car Seats
The choice of various types of car seats may make the selection process difficult for many parents and drivers. However, this list that explains what seats, like the convertible car seat, are and for which children they are designed will help make the selection easier:
- Infant car seat. Also known as a baby car seat, this seat secures newborns and babies alike by attaching to the vehicle facing the back of the vehicle. The structure of this seat is ideal for newborns and toddlers two years old or younger. However, a rear facing car seat like this may hold larger babies and toddlers, depending on the manufacturer’s weight and height limits. Convertible options are available that can turn into forward-facing restraints when infants outgrow the rear-facing restraint.
- Forward facing car seat. Suitable for children between the ages of two and five, this seat can support children while enabling them to face the front of the vehicle. This design allows drivers to check on their children easily and gives children the ability to be more mobile in the vehicle.
- Booster seat. In place of a full seat, a booster simply raises the height of a child so that they can properly use the seat belts. Booster seats may include a back and head rest but do not always. These types of seats are typically the best car seats for children between the ages of five and 12. These car seat ages are flexible and mainly depend on a child’s ability to use seat belts without the added height.
Finding the safest car seat for a child does not have to be difficult, but it should involve some preparation. Parents and drivers should pay attention to recall lists provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and research a seat before buying it.
Reading customer reviews and ensuring a particular device has not been recalled for faulty performance is essential when searching for the right child restraint. Even the top-rated car seats including the Graco Extend2Fit and the Chicco Keyfit infant car seat should be evaluated based on consumer experiences.
Car Seat Installation Information
The car seat installation process is vital to securing the protection of child passengers. A properly installed car seat can reduce the risk of children dying due to car crashes up to 71 percent. Therefore, parents and drivers must ensure they install car seats correctly and secure children in them effectively.
While parents and drivers may visit a child car seat safety seat inspection station to check the status of the child restraints, knowing how to install them before getting them checked can save parents and drivers time. Listed below is some helpful seat installation information that can make the installation process simpler:
- Reference car seat guidelines in your vehicle owner’s manual. Vehicle-specific instructions in the manual may help you position and install the seat in your vehicle without much trial and error. This information is often not printed in instructions booklets for child restraints.
- Place the child who will be using the seat in it while you adjust its dimensions. Some seats can be extended or altered for the comfort and safety of the child. To easily determine how big or small the child restraint should be, you can either measure the child’s height or use the child in the seat.
- Tighten all belts and latches and test the stability of the seat. Before traveling with child passengers, drivers should completely secure the child restraints and are encouraged to test the restraint using a heavy object to ensure it will not dislodge or move while the vehicle is in motion.