Arkansas Car Seat Laws

Current as of March 2024

Arkansas Car Seat Laws: A Parent's Guide to Keeping Kids Safe

As an Arkansas parent, you want to do everything possible to protect your child when you're on the road. Following the state's car seat laws is one of the most crucial steps you can take. To make it easy, we've summarized the key points you need to know to keep your little one safe and avoid penalties.

Arkansas Car Seat Requirements at a Glance

Arkansas law requires all children under 6 years old and less than 60 pounds to be properly secured in a child safety seat. The type of seat depends on your child's age, height and weight:

  • Infants: Ride rear-facing until at least age 2 or they reach the seat's upper height/weight limits
  • Toddlers: Use a forward-facing seat with a harness until they outgrow it (usually around age 4-7)
  • Older Kids: Use a booster seat until the vehicle's seat belt fits properly (typically when they reach 4'9" and 80 lbs, around age 8-13)

Following these rules isn't just the law - it's one of the best ways to reduce the risk of serious injury or death for child passengers if a crash occurs.

How to Install Your Car Seat Correctly

Choosing the right seat is just the first step. To truly keep your child safe, the seat must be installed and used correctly every time. Some key tips:

  • Read the instruction manual carefully and follow all steps
  • Place the seat in the back seat (the safest spot) and ensure it's facing the right direction for your child's age/size
  • Secure the seat tightly with either the seat belt or LATCH system, allowing no more than 1 inch of movement side-to-side or front-to-back
  • Adjust the harness to fit snugly against your child, with the chest clip at armpit level

It may take a few extra minutes, but taking the time to double check your car seat setup can make all the difference in keeping your child protected.

Penalties for Breaking Arkansas Car Seat Laws

In Arkansas, police officers can stop you and issue a citation if they see a child passenger who's not properly secured in a car seat or booster. Fines can be up to $100, though the penalty may be waived if you can prove you've obtained an appropriate child safety seat.

While the cost of a ticket may sting, the real risk of not following car seat laws is putting your child's safety in jeopardy. It's just not worth taking the chance.

Your Arkansas Car Seat Questions, Answered

Have more questions about keeping your kids safe on Arkansas roads? Here are answers to some common concerns:

Q: Can my child ride in the front seat if they meet the age/height/weight requirements?

A: Technically yes, but safety experts strongly recommend keeping kids in the back seat until age 13 if possible, as it's the safest place for them.

Q: Are there any times my child can legally ride without a car seat?

A: Only in specific exempted situations, such as medical emergencies or certain public transportation. It's best to always use a car seat unless it's truly not feasible.

Q: What should I do with an expired or damaged car seat?

A: Stop using it immediately and replace it with a new seat. Car seats have expiration dates for important safety reasons and should never be used past that point or if they've been in a crash, even if they look okay.

Navigating the ins and outs of car seat safety can seem overwhelming, but in Arkansas it all boils down to one key point: always secure your child in the right type of car seat or booster for their age and size, every trip, every time. You'll not only be following the law, but more importantly, you'll have the peace of mind of knowing you're doing everything you can to protect your most precious cargo.