Arkansas requires the use of child passenger safety seats to prevent unnecessary injuries related to unrestrained children. Below is an overview of the different age and weight requirements, as well as penalties and exemptions.
Unlike some other states, Arkansas law isn't specific about the particular car seat or restraint systems that drivers must use for child passengers. However, the law does say that drivers are responsible for ensuring children who are younger than 15 years old are properly secured. Here's what else Arkansas law says.
Until a child reaches either six years old or at least 60 pounds, he or she must be restrained in a federally approved child passenger safety seat. The seat must be properly installed and used per manufacturer recommendations.
Once a child is 60 pounds or at least six years old, he or she can ride without a safety seat but must still wear a seatbelt.
The Highway Patrol Division of the Arkansas State Police publishes recommendations on the types of car seats and restraints child passengers should be using.
The Highway Patrol recommends rear-facing car seats at least until a child reaches a year old and 20 pounds.
The Highway Patrol recommends forward-facing car seats generally until a child reaches about four years old and 40 pounds.
The Highway Patrol recommends booster seats for children who are younger than eight years old and have not yet reached 4'9" tall.
Failure to properly restrain a child will result in a $25 to $100 ticket. For offenders who show proof that they obtained a proper car seat, the court will impose only the minimum $25 fine.
Certain vehicles are exempt from these child restraint requirements. Emergency vehicles (or vehicles used during emergencies) are exempt as are for-hire vehicles like taxis and school buses.
Children are always permitted to remain in a more secure harness than is required by state law as long as they do not exceed the height or weight limits of the seat. While not required in Arkansas, the Center for Disease Control recommends rear-facing seats until children are two-to-four years old (depending on the size of the child) and booster seats until a child reaches nine to 12 years old (again, depending on the size of the child). Car seats should also be registered to ensure they are federally approved and so you can receive notice of recalls. To find out about recalls, you can register with the NHTSA to receive recall information about the seat you have or search for recalls that have already been issued.