LOUISIANA (KPLC) - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed Senate Bill 76 into law Saturday, changing existing laws for child safety seats set to take affect August 1.
The new laws state children 2 years old and younger must be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat, or until they reach the highest point of either the height or weight limit.
A child who has outgrown the rear facing seat and who is at least 2 years old must be restrained in a forward-facing child safety seat with an internal harness until they reach the height or weight limit.
A child 4 years old or older and who has outgrown the forward-facing safety seats must be restrained by a belt-positioning booster seat secured with a seat belt.
A child 9 years old or older or who has outgrown a booster seat can use the car's adult seat belt if it fits correctly on their body.
If a child can fall into more than one of these categories you should use the “more protective category.”
State Police say to use the Five Step test.
That means that when the child sits all the way back against the vehicle’s seat, their knees bend over the edge of the seat, the belt fits snugly across their thighs and lower hips and not abdomen and the shoulder strap crosses the center of the child’s chest and not the neck.
State Police say all children under 13 must also be in a rear seat when available.
Under the new law, drivers will be fined $100 for the first offense, and no less than $200 and no more than $500 for the second offense. The fine will be charged, plus all court costs will be for the third or subsequent offense.
And again, the law is set to take affect August 1.
Several law enforcement agencies have free child safety seat fitting stations.