According to United States Department of Transportation (DOT) data, car crashes are one of the leading causes of death among children under 13.
Following car seat laws in Arkansas is a simple yet important step toward reducing traffic deaths.
One out of four children who die unintentional deaths do so in motor vehicle collisions. But we have the power to save thousands of lives a year. The use of a car seat can reduce risk of injury for young children by 71–82%, and proper seat belt usage cuts the risk of death or serious injury in half for older children and adults.
Arkansas Car Seat and Seat Belt Laws
You may have seen signs in Little Rock encouraging you to “Buckle Up” as part of the Arkansas Highway Safety Office’s state-wide Click It or Ticket campaign. This initiative, which aims to reduce injuries and fatalities due to traffic crashes, begins with zero tolerance for seat belt law violations. Arkansas’s rate of seat belt usage is currently lower than the national average, and legislators and safety activists recognize that one of the easiest ways to prevent needless deaths is for you and your child to use the proper safety gear every time you get in a car.
The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office urges every person of every age to buckle up and use the proper restraint device every trip, every time. Each time you drive, ride in, or allow your child to ride in a car, follow these Arkansas car seat and seat belt laws:
- A child who is less than 6 years and weighs less than 60 pounds must be restrained in a child passenger safety seat.
- All children under 15 years of age must be properly secured in a seat belt.
- All adult front seat passengers, not just drivers, must be buckled in a seat belt.
- If the driver has a restricted license, all passengers in the vehicle must wear a seat belt.
These Arkansas car seat and seat belt laws are primary enforcement laws, meaning that a police officer has the right to pull a driver over for breaking this law alone. In other words, you can be pulled over, ticketed, and fined if a law enforcement officer notices that a child in your car is not following Arkansas car seat laws.
In addition to these primary enforcement laws, The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Offices also publishes guidelines for child motor vehicle safety.
Car Safety for Infants
The following safety guidelines apply to children one year or younger, weighing 20 pounds or below:
- A rear-facing car seat should be used in the back seat of the vehicle
- The car seat should be positioned at a 45% angle to the back of the seat
- Harness straps should be snug but not pinching, with the chest clip level with the child’s armpits
Car Safety for Toddlers
The following safety guidelines apply to children up to four years and 40 pounds:
- Children in this category may graduate to a front-facing child car seat
- The car seat’s harness straps should come from slots just at or above the child’s shoulder height
- The chest clip should rest at armpit level
- Harnesses should be snug, so that no more than one finger can fit between the strap and the child’s collarbone
Car Safety for Young Children Under 8
The following safety guidelines apply to children up to eight years and 4’9” in height:
- Children should always ride in the back seat of the vehicle
- Never allow a child to ride in the front seat when the vehicle has passenger air bags
- A booster seat should be used, so the shoulder belt rests across the chest, not under the chin
- Both the lap belt and shoulder belt components of the seat belt must be used
- Never tuck the shoulder belt behind the child’s back or under their arms
Car Safety for Older Children Over 8
The following safety guidelines apply to children over eight years and 4’9” in height:
- Children no longer require a booster seat when the shoulder belt fits securely across their chest while they are sitting upright in a comfortable position on the seat of the car
- Always have children sit in the back seat
- Never allow a child to move the shoulder belt behind them to make themselves more comfortable
Arkansas state police have stated that 4 out of 5 car seats are not used correctly. This vital safety device is only effective when used as it is intended to be used. If you have questions about how to correctly choose, install, and use a child car safety seat, there are many helpful resources online published by organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the CDC.
Child Car Seat Safety Statistics
The U.S. DOT and NHTSA provide information that gives us a clear picture of the dangers to children who ride in vehicles.
- In 2019, an average of two children under 13 were killed every day while riding in a car, SUV, pickup truck, or van.
- The same year, roughly 374 children under 13 were injured every day in motor vehicle crashes.
- Over one-third—38%—of children who died in car crashes in 2019 were not properly secured in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
Help After a Traffic Accident in Little Rock
Even when we do our best to protect those we love, the negligence of others can still cause us harm. If you and your child were hurt in a traffic accident that happened in Little Rock or the neighboring areas of Arkansas, reach out to McMath Woods P.A. for compassionate, skilled legal guidance. We assist families with the difficult process of investigating cases and filing car accident claims.
If you are not sure whether your circumstances give you legal standing to take action against the party that harmed your family, come to us for a no-obligation case evaluation. We’ll help you explore your legal options and means for financial recovery.