Kentucky Car Seat Laws
Car seat laws in Kentucky were added to the state’s legislation in order to protect child passengers and to ensure their safety while riding in a vehicle. Booster seat laws were written into this legislation as well, since young children can quickly outgrow a car seat but still need additional protection.
The state requires a driver to utilize a federally-approved child restraint system, which could mean any infant car seat, car seat or booster, based on age, weight and height.
You must make sure to review these child car seat laws if you are a parent or if you are a babysitter or other caregiver who drives young children around in your own car.
Kentucky has booster seat age limitations as well as those for car seat ages, so make sure you review the law in conjunction with the manufacturer’s limits indicated for the child restraint system that you purchase. Never exceed the weight or height restrictions provided by the manufacturer, but also keep in mind the legal requirements you must follow.
What are the car seat laws in Kentucky?
Child car seat safety in Kentucky is based upon the height of a child passenger, which will indicate what type of restraint system the child can safely use.
In KY, any child 40 inches tall or less is required to use a child restraint system. That restraint system could be anything from a baby car seat up to a booster seat, as there are no other specifications. It is always recommended that you keep your child in a rear facing car seat for as long as possible for increased safety. A booster seat should only be used once the child has outgrown all other car seat option.
Additionally, car seat safety rules dictate that any child younger than eight years old and between 40 and 57 inches tall must ride in a child booster seat. However, any child who is taller than 57 inches does not require a booster, regardless of age.
Note that booster seat weight and car seat weight limitations will exist for all types of car or booster seats, so you must consult the manufacturer’s information for any seat you purchase. Car seats can also have expiration dates, so be sure to check that detail and always adhere to recommendations by the manufacturer.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in Kentucky
Violating the booster seat weight requirements or height requirements in Kentucky can result in a citation and a penalty fee. There are different fees based on the type of violation, including booster car seat age infractions or failure to properly utilize and install a car seat.
Make sure that you follow the age and height requirements set forth by the state of Kentucky any time you drive a child passenger, whether or not you live in Kentucky and whether or not that child is yours.
Types of Car Seats
Choosing the best car seats requires you to do your research to find the right model for your child’s size and needs, as well as checking the compatibility with your vehicle. Some of the most popular brands, including Chicco, Evenflo and Graco, are usually rated among the safest car seats available, but you should always review current ratings to make sure you get the best for your situation.
There are many different car seat types based on different needs for children of various ages. It is important to know the various types available, including these common options:
- Rear Facing Seat: It is recommended that your child use a rear facing car seat for at least the first two years, with the recommendation being for as long as possible. Make sure you check the weight and height requirements of whichever car seat you buy, especially for its rear facing limits.
- Forward Facing Car Seat: A child can only continue in a rear facing position until a certain weight or height, after which time you will have to switch to a forward-facing position. It is recommended that you keep your child in this car seat for as long as possible before transitioning to a booster, so be sure to review the weight and height limits from the manufacturer.
- Convertible Car Seat: The convertible option lets you use the same seat in both the rear and forward-facing positions. This lets you use the same car seat for several years as your child grows.
- Booster Car Seats: Booster seats must be used in Kentucky until the child reaches the height or age requirements mentioned previously. It is recommended that a child stay in a booster seat until he or she can comfortably sit with his or her back against the seat with knees bent over the edge of the seat in front. This allows for a regular seat belt to be safely used. Until that time, you should continue using a booster.
Car Seat Installation Information
The car seat installation can be a challenge for new users of these restraint systems, so it is wise to research and ask for help to make sure you comply with the laws and keep your child safe.
There are installation inspection stations around the state, typically at fire stations or health care clinics, so you can take advantage of the extra guidance and advice. The following tips can help you install a car seat correctly:
- First, read all of the car seat instructions provided by the manufacturer.
- You should also read the sections of your vehicle owner’s manual that discuss child passenger safety.
- Always place a car or booster seat in the back seat of your vehicle. The center is the safest spot.
- Only use a child booster seat with a combination seat belt that has a shoulder and a lap belt.
- Check that the child car seat is secure and that it does not move more than an inch in any direction.
- Always check the seat again every time you use it to make sure it has not come loose at all.