Five things every parent should know about child safety seats and related Tennessee laws

by | May 16, 2017

Tennessee state law requires parents transport children in a rear-facing seat until the child is one-year-old or weighs more than 20 pounds. Children older than one year who weigh more than 20 pounds must travel in a forward-facing car seat system that is secured with a safety belt until the age of three. Children from ages four through nine who are less than 4 feet, 9 inches in height must also be secured in a belt-positioning booster seat.

Booster seat systems should always be placed in the rear seat if possible. The National Highway Safety Administrationrecommends parents use the rear-facing type of child safety seat as long as possible because the rear-facing seats provide more protection for the child in a crash.

Automobile seat belt systems

Children taller than 4 feet, 9 inches who are age 9 through 12 must be secured by the automobile’s seat belt system. Children should ride in the rear seat if possible to avoid injuries from the dash-mounted air bags. Children over the age of 13 must wear safety belts and the driver can be fined if any child in the vehicle is not properly secured according to their age, weight, or height.

Proper installation of car seats

Improperly installed car seats can lead to injuries in a crash. If a child is injured in an automobile accident due to an improperly installed seat, parents may have no legal recourse against the car seat manufacturer. A Nashville car accident lawyer can advise parents of children injured in a crash of their possible legal options.

Car seat expiration dates

Child car seats and child booster seats have expiration dates that are typically 6 years from the date of manufacture. If there is no specific expiration date printed on the car seat, the date should be in the owner’s manual. Parents can call the manufacturer to find out the expiration date, but need to know the seat’s date of manufacture.

Car seat recalls

Car seats are sometimes recalled for various reasons. Manufacturers usually contact owners who have registered the recalled product with the manufacturer after purchase. Parents can check the National Highway Safety Administration site for recall information and other safety updates.

The dangers of second-hand child seats

Parents should always know the complete history of any booster or child safety seat they use to be sure it is not expired, recalled, and has not been in a crash previously.