Kentucky Car Seat Laws

This post is a continuation of our series on baby car safety regulations in US states and in this article, I’ll focus on Kentucky state. This follows our previous car seat law guides on Oregon and Ohio.

The Kentucky car seat laws stipulate that any child 40” inches or less must be strapped in a car seat in every moving vehicle. The law also states that a baby is taller than 40” but shorter than 57 “ in height and seven years and younger must use a booster seat in any moving vehicle.

Also, the Kentucky car seat law stipulates that a child must be at least 57 inches or 4’9’ in height to switch from a booster seat to a seatbelt.

Note: the Kentucky car seat laws do not have a preference for either a rear or front-facing car seat as long as the baby uses a car seat as the law stipulates. Also, the law does not define the specific place that a child should sit in the vehicle as long as the kid uses the necessary car seat.

The fine for not using a car seat is about $50 while the fine for a booster seat violation is roughly $30.

Laws for Rear-Facing Car Seats in Kentucky

The Kentucky Rear-facing car seat law requires that any child less than 40” tall should use a proper child restraint system when in motor vehicle movement. According to the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, a parent should use an infant car seat until they are 29 pounds or one year.  Note: Infant baby seats are recommended for very young babies because they protect a child’s head, neck, and back better even when a crash occurs. Also, the infant car seat reduces stress on the neck and spinal cord areas of the baby as it moves with the child instead of against it. The rear-facing car seats are the best. However, you can also use a convertible that switches from rear-facing to front-facing as long as you keep the seat facing the rear of the car.

Laws for Front-Facing Car Seats

The Kentucky car seat laws stipulate that children of above two years must use a forward-facing car seat with a harness.

According to the law,  you can use the front-facing car seat until the baby is five and weighs 40 pounds.

Laws for Booster Seats

The child booster seat laws in Kentucky states that children should switch to the booster seat when they outgrow the forward-facing seat and are between 40” and 57” tall. A child who is suitable for a booster seat must have feet that touch the floor and the maturity to sit in one position for an entire ride.

It is important to note that booster seats come into two main types, the full-back booster seats, and the backless booster. The full-back booster seat is suitable when a vehicle does not have proper headrests because it secures the head and neck areas in case of an accident. The backless booster is appropriate when your care has headrests that are sturdy and functional.

Note: Always remember to use both the lap and shoulder belt to secure the booster seat. The shoulder belt should fit snugly across the child’s torso area and the lap belt must fit the thigh area and not the abdomen.

Height and Weight Requirements

According to the Kentucky Car Seat Laws, the height and weight of the baby determine the car seat requirements. Below, we break down the height and weight requirements:

  • A child from birth to 12 months of age  (26” 0r 20 pounds) use a rear-facing car seat, which could be either standard or convertible
  • A child of 1-4 years )or 40 pounds) should use a front-facing car seat or convertible car seat.
  • A baby aged 4-7 years (40 pounds or 40 to 50 inches tall) should use a booster seat that is either backless or full back.a
  • A child aged 7 and above, or at least 57 inches tall should use standard seat belts.

Note: you should adhere to the car seat’s manufacturer user guidelines if they differ from the recommendations to enhance the safety of your child.

Laws for Seatbelts

The state of Kentucky allows children who are at least seven years or 57 inches tall to use a standard seat belt that has both lap and shoulder restraints when in a moving vehicle. A parent or caregiver receives a fine of up to $50 when authorities find a child in moving care without proper restraints. However, the state can waiver the fine if you purchase the right type of car or booster seat thereafter.

Vehicles such as taxi cabs, some farm vehicles, postal vehicles are exempt from the seat belt legislation.