We all remember pining after that coveted passenger seat as a kid– screaming “Shotgun!” and sprinting across the pavement, desperate to be the first one to reach the car.
But the next time your kids go racing for the front seat, consider seating them in the back instead. Not only is it safer, but it will also help avoid legal trouble down the road.
Here are 3 reasons why it’s better for kids aged 12 and under to sit in the backseat.
1. The backseat is safer
Among other dangers, the airbags in the front seat of cars can be deadly to children and even teenagers.
The CDC recommends buckling children under the age of 12 “in the middle seating position of the back seat when possible (using a lap and shoulder belt), because it is the safest position in the vehicle.”
Research shows that of children under 13 who died in car accidents in 2018, 1 in 3 were not buckled properly.
In addition, using a car seat for your child can reduce the risk of injury by as much as 80%.
The CDC also recommends the following:
- Using car seats and booster seats for younger children
- Using seat belts for people of all ages
Following these guidelines will help keep your kids as safe as possible and reduce the risk of serious injury in the unfortunate case of an accident.
2. It’s the law in Louisiana
A new law in Louisiana in 2019 updated the existing rules on child car seats. It specified more guidelines on the kinds of car seats and booster seats to use for children depending on their age.
It also clarified that any child under the age of 13 must sit in the back seat.
Here are the requirements for children based on their age range, according to Louisiana law:
- 0-1 year old: Rear-facing safety seats
- 2-4 years old: Forward-facing car seat with an internal harness– IF they have outgrown the rear-facing seat
- 4-9 years old: Booster seat with a lap/shoulder belt– IF they have outgrown the forward-facing car seat
- 9-12 years old: Can ride buckled without a booster seat– IF they have outgrown the booster seat and the seat belt covers their chest, not their neck
- Any child under 13: Must ride in the back seat with some form of seat belt or restraint
3. The DMV, Highway Safety Commission, and state laws around the country all agree
The Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles and the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission agree with the CDC that it’s safest to keep your kids in the backseat and properly restrained.
Many states around the country have laws like Louisiana’s, so it’s a safe bet that the rules are similar no matter what state you’re in.
If you get pulled over for a child safety violation in Louisiana, the penalties can be pretty steep.
The fine for a first offense can be as much as $50 or $100, and will only go up with a second or third offense.
In addition, you’ll have to prove to a court that you’ve purchased the proper restraints within 30 days or your license could be suspended.
To avoid legal troubles, and to keep your kids safe, keep them in the backseat until their 13th birthday.
After that, they can race for the shotgun seat to their heart’s content!
Contact Pierce & Shows today
If you were hurt in any type of motor vehicle accident, you know firsthand the stress and trauma involved. Injuries sustained due to these types of child safety violations can only make things worse. But if you were injured due to the negligent or reckless actions of another driver, you have the right to seek compensation. Contact our team of professionals at Pierce & Shows to schedule your first free consultation.