We want to protect our children in any way possible. We keep an eye on them while they’re playing in the park, hold their hand while crossing the street, and expect to hear progress reports from their teachers at school. Because children are so vulnerable to danger, we also want to keep them safe in our cars. For that reason, we have gathered up the Arkansas child seat laws to ensure your children are kept safe from harm’s way.
First, the Facts About Child Seats
Here are some fast facts and statistics about child passenger safety, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- The leading cause of death among children in the United States is motor vehicle injuries.
- In 2015, 633 children ages 12 and younger died as a result of motor vehicle crashes.
- Over 120,000 children were injured in motor vehicle accidents in 2014.
- In 2015, 35% of the children who died in a car accident were not buckled up.
Arkansas Child Seat Laws
In Arkansas, the law requires all children to be secured in a child passenger restraint while the vehicle is in motion:
- Every driver of a motor vehicle who transports a child under fifteen (15) years of age, shall while the vehicle is in motion and operated on a public road, street, or highway, properly place, maintain, and secure the child in a child passenger restraint system properly secured to the vehicle and meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
- A child who is less than six (6) years of age and who weighs less than sixty pounds (60 lbs) shall be restrained in a child passenger safety seat properly secured to the vehicle.
- If a child is at least six (6) years of age or at least sixty pounds (60 lbs) in weight, a safety belt properly secured to the vehicle shall be efficient.
Arkansas Child Restraints List
Here’s a summary of Arkansas’s child seat laws according to age, weight, and height:
- Birth to at least age 1 (or 20 pounds): infant-only/rear-facing seat or rear-facing convertible seat
- Age 1 (at least 20 pounds) to age 6 (or 60 pounds): forward-facing convertible seat, forward facing seat, or booster seat as applicable
- Until age 8 (or 4’9” tall): booster seat
- Until age 15: shoulder and lap seat belt
Failure to abide by these laws results in a fine of $25 to $100. However, the charges can be dropped upon proof of purchasing a seat.
Types of Restraints
The three variables of child seats (age, height, and weight) are applied across these various types of restraints:
- Rear-facing seats and (infant) rear-facing only seats (for infants): A child seat in which the position is facing the back of the vehicle. This seat helps to support the child’s neck, back, and head and helps to reduce stress to the child’s neck and spinal cord in the event of a crash. A rear-facing only seat is only for young children in a rear-facing only position.
- Forward-facing child safety seats (for toddlers/children around the age of learning how to walk): A child seat only used for the forward-facing position.
- Convertible seats (infant to toddler): Convertible seats convert from rear-facing for infants and babies, and then forward-facing for older and larger children.
- Booster seats (usually for children under 4 feet, 9 inches): A booster seat “boosts” the child up so the lap and shoulder belt fits properly. In this case, a properly fitting belt is extremely important, so be sure the lap belt fits low and tight across the child’s hips, and the shoulder belt fits snug across his/her chest and does not rest against the child’s neck and/or face.
- Lap/shoulder belts (for adults and older children): These belts go across the laps and shoulders of drivers and passengers.
Good to Know
Here are some more details about the child seat laws, including what to do about recalls for child seats and replacing child seats.
- NHTSA has bulletins that show recalls for different products
- You can also keep up with recalls by registering the child seat after purchase
- Child seats do “expire”! Child seats have a shelf-life of about six years.
- Replace the child seat if your car has been in a moderate or severe car crash (regardless of whether or not the child was in the seat)
- Riding with your child in a taxi? While most taxis are exempt from child seat restraint laws, they are obligated to give you enough time to install one correctly if you have one. It is still important to protect your child as best as possible.
Child safety is our number one concern when we put them in a motor vehicle. Let’s keep them safe by keeping up with the latest child seat laws and replacing the child seat when required. However, if you or your child have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, the Law Offices of Alan LeVar are here to help. Contact us by calling us at (888) 220-7028 or by filling out our contact form for a free case evaluation.