Kentucky Car Seat Laws 2022 (Rear, Forward & Booster)

kentucky car seat laws

Kentucky car seat laws require children who are 40 inches or less in height to be secured in a child safety restraint. It must meet applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.

The driver of the motor vehicle is responsible for securing the child in the restraint. A violation of the law will result in a penalty.

Disclaimer: This content does not constitute legal advice. It is solely for informational purposes. We recommend you check the original source of the law for the latest version. 

Kentucky Car Seat Laws

Kentucky Rear-Facing Car Seat Law

There is no rear-facing car seat law in Kentucky. However, car seat laws in Kentucky state that a child who is 40 inches or less in height must be secured in a child restraint. (1) The restraint must meet federal safety standards. 

While there is no Kentucky rear-facing child seat law, there are certain recommendations by the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety that you can follow. It states that an infant must be kept rear-facing till a minimum of 1 year of age and 20 pounds. (2)

The rear-facing car seat age in Kentucky is absent. But the best practice is to keep them rear-facing till the age of 2 years and 30 pounds. 

A car seat violation in Kentucky is subject to a fine of $50. (3) 

Age: Newborn to 2 years (recommended)
Height: Less than 40 inches
Weight: Up to 30 pounds (recommended)
Penalty: $50

Kentucky Forward-Facing Car Seat Law

There is no forward-facing car seat law in Kentucky. All child passengers who are 40 inches or shorter in height have to be restrained in a federally approved car seat. (1) As such, the forward-facing car seat age in Kentucky is also absent. 

Since there is no Kentucky forward-facing child seat law, it is best to refer to the recommendations of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Once children outgrow their rear-facing seat, they should move to a forward-facing seat with a harness. They should keep riding forward-facing till they reach the maximum height and weight limits of the seats.

Any violation of the Kentucky child seat laws will result in a fine of $50. (3)  The driver will be held responsible for the violation. 

Age: Newborn to 2 years (recommended)
Height: Less than 40 inches
Penalty: $50

Kentucky Booster Seat Law

According to the child booster seat law in Kentucky, a child under the age of 8 years and between 40 inches and 57 inches in height must be secured in a booster seat. (1)  It can be a high-back or a backless booster seat. 

The booster seat age in Kentucky is not specific. Once the child outgrows the height and weight limits of their forward-facing seats, they can move to a booster seat. As per Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, children should continue riding a booster seat till they are 57 inches tall.

If the driver disobeys Kentucky booster seat requirements, they will be fined $30. (3) In case of a first violation, they can choose to acquire a federally-approved booster seat. After presenting proof of such acquisition, the charge will be dismissed. 

Age: Less than 8 years
Height: Between 40 inches and 57 inches
Penalty: $30

Kentucky Child Front Seat Law

There is no specific child front seat law in Kentucky. The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety states that riding in the front seat, with or without airbags, is risky for children. (2) The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends keeping a child under 13 years of age in the backseat. 

However, if you are carrying your child in the front seat, they must be placed in a child passenger safety system that is appropriate for their height and weight requirements. In the case of a rear-facing seat, the passenger-side airbag must be deactivated.

For a forward-facing and booster seat, the vehicle seat must be pushed as far away from the dashboard as possible. 

Since the front seat age in Kentucky is absent, it is best to follow the AAP guidelines.

Age: 13 years and older (recommended) 

Kentucky Child Seat Belt Law

According to the child seat belt law in Kentucky, all children who are older than 8 years or taller than 57 inches (regardless of age) are required to wear an adult safety belt. (1)

These requirements have to be followed whether they are seated in the front seat or the backseat. Seat belt rules in Kentucky do not apply to passengers who have a medical or physical reason for not wearing a seat belt.

They must have a written statement from a physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or a licensed chiropractor about the same. The requirements also do not apply to a letter carrier of the US Postal Service while carrying out the duties. 

A violation of Kentucky children’s seat belt law carries a maximum fine of $25. (3)

Age: Older than 8 years
Height: Taller than 57 inches
Penalty: Maximum $25

Kentucky Taxi Child Seat Law

According to the taxi child seat law in Kentucky, taxis are not exempt from Kentucky car seat regulations.

Under the law, a child passenger who is 40 inches or shorter in height must be in a federally approved car seat. (1) The driver of the motor vehicle has to ensure that the child is secure. Hence, the taxi driver will be responsible. 

The driver may not have a car seat that is best for your child. Thus, it is best if you arrange an appropriate taxi child seat in Kentucky before traveling. Depending on the child’s height, you can select a rear-facing, forward-facing, or booster car seat. 

When installing the car seat in a taxi, both the parents/caregivers and the driver should ensure that it is securely fixed.

Kentucky Ridesharing Child Seat Law

The ridesharing child seat law in Kentucky is unclear. Kentucky state law requires the “driver of a motor vehicle” to ensure that children less than 40 inches in height are secured in a federally approved child passenger safety system. (1) 

However, it does not specify who should provide a child seat. Nor does it specify if it applies to ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft. 

In such a scenario, either the parents/caregivers or the driver should provide a child passenger safety system. As per the NHTSA recommendations, infants should be placed in a rear-facing car seat.

For toddlers and young children, a forward-facing car seat or a booster seat is required. Children taller than 4’9” or older than 8 years have to wear the adult seat belt. 

Kentucky Child Seat Replacement Law

There is no explicit child seat replacement law in Kentucky. The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety advises child seat replacement after an accident. (2)

If your vehicle is involved in a moderate or severe accident in Kentucky,  you must replace the car seat. It may have defects not visible to the eye. Therefore, it is important to replace it after a moderate or severe crash. 

There is no urgent need to replace the car seat if your vehicle suffered a low-impact accident. A low-impact minor crash is one that satisfies all five conditions prescribed by the NHTSA.

The Office of Highway Safety also recommends replacing the child safety seat if it is older than 6 years or has surpassed the expiration date prescribed by the manufacturer.

Leaving Child in The Car in Kentucky

According to the law on leaving a child in a vehicle in Kentucky, it is illegal to leave a child under the age of 8 years in a vehicle in dangerous circumstances. (4)

If it results in the death of the child, the person will be guilty of manslaughter in the second degree. It is a Class C felony. 

Leaving a child unattended in a vehicle carries many risks.  The most common danger is heat stroke. The temperature inside the vehicle can rise rapidly.

Since children’s bodies heat up faster than adults, they are at great risk of suffering a heat stroke. Other dangers include the child getting kidnapped, setting the car in motion, or having some other in-car accident. 

Even though leaving a child in the car in Kentucky is a classified offense, it is never safe to do so, even for a minute. 

Choosing a Child Car Seat in Kentucky

When choosing a car seat in Kentucky, it is best to follow the NHTSA  recommendations. For children younger than 2 years, a rear-facing infant seat is the best car seat to use in Kentucky.

They are usually designed for babies weighing 20-35 pounds. There are also convertible seats that can be used as rear-facing and later forward-facing seats. 

For booster seats, you can choose either a backless or a high-back booster seat.

They are used with lap and shoulder seat belts. An all-in-one seat may be the best booster seat to use in Kentucky. It is versatile and can be used for all three types of seats. 

Car Seat Installation Help in Kentucky

Child passenger safety seats in Kentucky must be federally approved and installed as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Installing a car seat can be a tedious task.

To help you with it, there are various stations in Kentucky with certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technicians.

You can get your car seat checked or installed and also learn more about child passenger safety. Some of the stations where you can get assistance are:

Kentucky Car Seat Safety Resources

  • Kentucky Transportation Cabinet- Office of Highway Safety: The Office of Highway Safety has answers to the most common questions. It also suggests the best practices for rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster seats. 
  • Owensboro Health: It is an integrated health system in Kentucky. It also contains vital information regarding the correct use of car seats and resources for parents and caregivers. 
  • Kentucky Farm Bureau: A voluntary organization of families, it lists important resources for parents such as NHTSA recommendations and car seat finders.
  • Madison County Child Passenger Safety Program: The official website of the Madison County Health Department, it has information about car seat laws, inspection stations, and safety recommendations.

FAQ

How long should a child ride in a rear-facing car seat in Kentucky? 

The law does not expressly state an age. But the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety recommends that a child ride in a rear-facing car seat till the age of 2 years. 

Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat in Kentucky?

The law is silent. It is best to put a rear-facing car seat in the back. If you do put it in front, the front seat airbag must be deactivated. 

Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the middle rear seat in Kentucky?

You can put a rear-facing car seat in the middle rear seat, but it must fit properly. Check the car seat as well as your vehicle’s manuals.

When can a baby face forward in a car seat in Kentucky?

There is no specific age. But children can face forward after they have outgrown their rear-facing seat. This typically happens around 2 years of age.

How old for a booster seat in Kentucky?

There is no specific age mentioned in the law. Child seat requirements in Kentucky mandate children younger than 8 years and between 40 inches and 57 inches in height to be secured in a booster seat.

When to use a backless booster seat in Kentucky?

You can use a backless booster seat if your vehicle seat has a headrest and the child’s ears are not higher than the seat back. 

When can a child sit in the front seat with a booster in Kentucky?

Children should ideally ride in the backseat till they are 13 years old. But if unavoidable, they can ride in the front seat with a booster with the seat pushed back. 

When can a child stop using a booster seat in Kentucky?

A child can stop using a booster seat when they turn 8 years old or grow taller than 57 inches in height, whichever occurs first. They can then start using the seatbelt. 

When can a child sit in the front seat in Kentucky?

Children are safer in the backseat of the vehicle. But they can sit in the front seat in an appropriate child restraint if it is absolutely necessary. 

When to switch from 5 point harness to a seat belt in Kentucky?

When the child outgrows the height and weight limits of the 5-point harness, they can switch to wearing a seat belt in a booster seat. 

When can a child use a regular seat belt in Kentucky?

Under the law, a child can start using a regular seat belt once they are 8 years old or are taller than 57 inches (regardless of age). 

Do you need a car seat in a taxi in Kentucky?

Taxis are required to have a car seat. The best practice is for you, the parent/caregiver, to carry an appropriate car seat for maximum protection of your child. 

Do you need a car seat in a Uber in Kentucky?

The Kentucky law does not mention ridesharing services like Uber. But either the caregiver or the driver should provide a federally approved and appropriate car seat. 

Do you need a car seat in a Lyft in Kentucky?

The law is not clear on this issue. But either the caregiver or the driver should provide an appropriate car seat to ensure the child’s safety. 

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