Louisiana car seat laws fall below the practices recommended by safety experts. In Louisiana, children under age 6 or weighing less than 60 pounds must ride in a safety seat.
Infants less than 1 year old and under 20 pounds must ride in a rear facing infant seat. Toddlers age 1 through 3 and between 20-40 pounds must travel in a forward facing car seat. Children ages 4 and 5, between 40 and 60 pounds must use a booster seat. (If the vehicle does not have shoulder belts, a child over 40 pounds may ride using just the lap belt. This is safer than using a booster seat without a shoulder belt.)
Kids who are at least 6 years old OR weigh more than 60 pounds may travel using just the lap and shoulder belt, or a booster with a seat belt, which ever fits better.
Louisiana is unique in that the law specifically states that “a child who because of age or weight can be placed in more than one category shall be placed in the more protective category.”
The fine for violations of this law start at $100 and increase incrementally to $500 plus court costs for subsequent offenses.
Safety experts recommend keeping kids in each car seat stage until he or she reaches the maximum height and weight requirements for the seat. See the links below for additional information on best practices for car seat use. You’ll also find links with more information on Louisiana booster seat law and car seat law.
State Resources for Louisiana Car Seat Laws
Louisiana Highway Safety Administration – Louisiana car seat laws (at bottom of page)
National Resources for Louisiana Car Seat and Booster Seat Laws
nhtsa.gov – U.S. Department of Transportation / National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website
safercar.gov – The NHTSA publishes this site. Parents Central is the child safety section. This is a great info packed site, so if you have questions about almost anything related to car seats or booster seats, definitely check this one out.
iihs.org – Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, child safety page
safekids.org – A global organization about keeping children safe, especially from preventable injuries or fatalities. Their site includes tips on car seat choice and car seat inspection events, among other things.