As a parent, you want nothing more than to keep your child safe. From the moment you drive away from the hospital to when you’re on the way to soccer practice, it’s important to understand the state car seat laws. Standard passenger vehicles and their safety features, like seat belts and airbags, are made for adults. Because of their size, children are at a greater risk of injury in the event of an accident. When using a car seat properly, a young occupant is less likely to sustain injuries in the event of a collision. Let’s take a look at Mississippi car seat laws.
Child Safety Seat Laws in Mississippi
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), car accidents are the leading cause of accidental deaths in children. It’s estimated that one-third of children who are fatally injured in crashes are not in car seats, booster seats, or seat belts.
Seat belts and car seats save hundreds of lives every year in Mississippi. That’s why the state mandates the use of car seats in certain situations. If you have a child or you regularly transport children via your personal vehicle, it’s important to understand and comply with the state car seat laws.
Under Section 63-7-301 of Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations, drivers are required to provide a child passenger restraint device or system when transporting a child under the age of four. In the event the law is violated, the driver can be fined.
In regard to rear-facing and forward-facing car seat laws, all children under the age of two must travel in a rear-facing only seat or rear-facing convertible seat. This includes infants, toddlers, and other children who have yet to outgrow a rear-facing seat. While that age limit is mentioned, parents should defer to their car seat manufacturer when deciding when to change car seats.
From the ages of four to seven, children are required to ride in a booster seat. Once again, however, age isn’t always the determining factor. According to state law, a booster seat must be used if a child is under four feet, nine inches, and weighs less than 65 pounds.
While there is no law in Mississippi that mentions at what age a child can sit in the front seat of a vehicle, although the state recommends being at least 13, there is a law stating that rear-facing car seats cannot be placed in the front seat. Safety experts recommend children only be allowed to sit in the front seat once they’ve outgrown their booster seat and an adult seat belt fits them perfectly.
Car Seat Safety Tips
Even if you follow the car seat laws to a tee, you may not realize that your child’s car seat doesn’t fit them properly or that they are not correctly restrained. According to the MSDH, an estimated 90% of Mississippi’s children are placed in improper restraints for their size and age. As such, let’s take a look at some car seat safety tips to always keep in mind:
- Never let children ride on laps, in cargo areas, or in pickup truck beds.
- When you install a car seat, get a tight fit between the restraint system and the vehicle seat. This means putting your weight into the car seat to compress the vehicle seat while tightening the seat belt as much as possible.
- Speak with your child’s doctor to learn if they require special child restraints. Premature infants, children with respiratory problems or orthopedic challenges, and children with neurological and behavioral problems may require a different type of car seat.
- Always use the correct child restraint system. Never use towels, pillows, or books to boost a child.
- Always stay informed on the latest in car seat safety. If you’re uncertain about something, refer to the restraint system’s manual, your vehicle manual, or the car seat manufacturer for proper installation.
Keep Your Family Safe With Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC
In the event you’ve been involved in a car accident and your family is now dealing with the consequences and aftermath, the lawyers at Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC are here to explain your legal rights and options and guide you through the personal injury claims process.
We recognize the challenges of handling the ramifications of a car accident, especially if you or other family members are dealing with physical and emotional injuries. To give yourself the best chance of recovering financially, taking legal action may be the answer. To learn more about your options or to get started on your claim, contact us today.