Louisiana takes child passenger safety very seriously. The penalties for violations are some of the most severe in the country and might include fines and license suspension. The following explains the child safety requirements and the consequences of breaking the law.
Louisiana requires all children under 18 years old to wear seatbelts or appropriate restraints. The type of restraint depends on the child's age, weight, and height.
Under two years old. All children under two years of age must be in a rear-facing harness system. A child can graduate to a forward-facing seat once he or she exceeds the height and weight limits of the rear-facing seat.
Two to four years old. Children who are at least two years old and have exceeded the height and weight limits for a rear-facing seat must be restrained in a forward-facing harness system. The forward-facing harness is required until the child reaches the height and weight limits of the harness.
Four to nine years old. Children who are at least four years old and have outgrown the forward-facing harness limits must use a belt-positioning booster seat.
At least nine years old. A child who is at least nine years old and has outgrown the limits of a booster seat can use a correctly positioned adult belt.
Under 13 years old. All children under 13 years old must be seated in the rear seats of a vehicle, if available.
Children who fit in more than one of these categories should generally be secured in the more protective of the two.
Fines for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd violations. Drivers who fail to secure a child in a restraint system face a $100 fine for a first offense. This fine is $250 to $500 for a second offense and $500 for a third offense.
Fines for using the wrong car seat. Drivers who have a child in a restraint system that is inappropriate to the child's size or age face a $100 fine.
Correcting the violation and license suspension. Offenders will also receive written notification from the Officer of Motor Vehicles (OMV) after a conviction. The driver will be required to sign a notarized affidavit indicating the acquisition of the proper child restraint and return it to the OMV within 30 days. Failure to do so will result in driver's license suspension until the affidavit is returned.
License suspension for 3rd violations. A third child restraint offense will result in a mandatory 180-day driver's license suspension and a $60 reinstatement fee.