Mississippi Car Seat Laws
Mississippi car seat laws have been put in place in order to protect children in the event of a vehicle crash. Car seat safety is an integral component of driving with a child as a passenger, as different car seats will provide varying safety capabilities. For instance, an infant seat will provide protection particular to a child’s spine and neck, while a booster seat uses a seatbelt to fasten a child in.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages one through 13. This is why it is so important to adhere to booster seat laws in Mississippi. Following the rules, as well as knowing the proper installation techniques can save a child’s life if a crash occurs. To find out more about MS car seat requirements, continue below.
What are the car seat laws in Mississippi?
Car seat regulations in Mississippi are very specific when it comes to age, weight and height. Additionally, the Mississippi State Department of Health has also released recommendations per a child’s age for the type of seats he or she should be using. The recommendations and car seat guidelines include:
- Infants and Toddlers – Infants and toddlers should only use rear-facing seats, convertible or otherwise, until they are at least two years of age or until they reach the weight or height recommendations as per the seat’s manufacturer.
- Toddlers and Preschoolers – Toddlers and preschoolers should use forward facing car seats with a harness, up until they reach the weight or height guidelines as per the seat manufacturer.
- School-aged children – School-aged children should be in a booster seat with a seatbelt until they reach the height of 4 feet 9 inches and are between the ages of eight and 12 years old.
- Older children – All children younger than 13 should be in rear seats with a seat belt securely fastened.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in Mississippi
Mississippi booster seat age requirements are in place to protect children, and violating these laws puts the driver of the vehicle in jeopardy for fines and penalties. If a driver fails to meet the proper car seat weight or safety regulations for children under age seven years old, he or she can be cited with a misdemeanor violation, which is punishable by a $25 fine per offense. Charges can potentially be dropped if the driver furnishes proof of acquisition of the required seat.
Types of Car Seats
There are four options to purchase a child car seat in Mississippi and depending on the age of the child or children, the options will vary. Nowadays there are convertible car seat options, which prevent a driver or parent from having to purchase a new car seat whenever a child grows out of an old one. The four types of car seats available today include:
- Rear facing car seat – the best option for young children. Rear-facing seats come with a harness which protects a child’s neck and spinal cord in the event of a crash.
- Forward facing car seat – the best option for growing children. Forward-facing seats have a tether and harness combination, which can limit a child’s forward momentum during a vehicle crash.
- Booster seat – intended for children ages four to seven years old and positions a seat belt in order to fit over the stronger parts of a child’s body.
- Seat belt – any child between eight and 12 years of age, or over 4 feet 9 inches tall must wear a seat belt as a passenger. It should fit across the upper thighs and snugly across the shoulder.
Oftentimes, parents confuse the best car seats on the market with the most expensive car seats. Not all of the safest car seats come with a hefty price tag. A few of the more popular car seat models that are at a lower price point include:
- Graco Contender 65 Convertible Seat
- Safety 1st Grow & Go Convertible Seat
- Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Seat
Car Seat Installation Information
Mississippi car seat guidelines also highlight the importance of following proper installation protocol. If a child car seat is not properly installed, then the safety advantages of the seat will be void. Proper car seat installation tips and techniques involve:
- Choosing the right seat based on the child’s size and age.
- Reading the seat manufacturer’s instructions first, then the vehicle’s own installation instructions.
- Properly following all guidelines involving booster seat weight, height and age.
- Keeping a child in a car seat as long as possible within the recommended guidelines.
Once a car seat is installed in a vehicle, the driver can take the car to a certified NHTSA technician for a free check. There are NHTSA locations all throughout Mississippi to check the installation, but also to provide any helpful tips and techniques.