Arkansas Car Seat Laws in 2021

In Arkansas law, a child under six years old and weighing less than sixty pounds must be restrained in a child passenger seat, and a child between six and fourteen years old or weighing at least sixty pounds must wear a safety belt, while a motor vehicle is in motion and operated on a public road, street, or highway. A child between fifteen and seventeen years old must wear a seat belt when driving or riding in the front seat of motor vehicle operated on a street or highway.

Child passenger seats include infant car seats, booster seats and convertible car seats.

Babies and Children Under Six Years Old and Weighing Less Than Sixty Pounds

A child under six years old and weighing less than sixty pounds must be restrained in a child passenger safety seat meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards and properly secured to the motor vehicle while the vehicle is in motion and operated on a public road, street, or highway.

Children Six to Fourteen Years Old or Weighing At Least Sixty Pounds

For a child between six and fourteen years old or weighing at least sixty pounds, a safety belt properly secured to the motor vehicle is sufficient while the vehicle is in motion and operated on a public road, street, or highway.

Children Fifteen to Seventeen Years Old

A child between fifteen and seventeen years old must wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt properly secured to the vehicle when driving or being transported as a front seat passenger in any motor vehicle operated on a street or highway that is required by federal law or regulation to be equipped with a passenger restraint system.

A driver or passenger who is seated in a wheelchair in a motor vehicle must wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt properly secured to the wheelchair and properly secure the wheelchair in the motor vehicle.

Penalties for Violations

You may be fined between $25.00 and $100.00 for a violation of Arkansas’ Child Passenger Protection Act. If you failed to secure a child in a child passenger safety seat properly secured to the motor vehicle, the court will consider whether you restrained the child by alternate means such as a properly secured safety belt when determining the amount of your fine. If you present satisfactory proof to the court that you have acquired, purchased, or rented an approved child passenger safety seat, you will be fined only $25.00.

You may be fined $25.00 and assessed court costs for a violation of Arkansas’ Mandatory Seat Belt Use law. No other costs or fees may be assessed.

Exemptions

Your child may be exempt from Arkansas’ Child Passenger Protection Act if he or she is being transported in a motor vehicle being used as an ambulance or other emergency vehicle; if an emergency threatens the life of the person operating a motor vehicle; or if an emergency threatens the life of a child who would otherwise be required to be restrained.

Your child may be exempt from Arkansas’ Child Passenger Protection Act if he or she is physically unable to use a child passenger safety seat system or seat safety belt due to medical reasons and a physician certifies the medical reasons, the nature of the medical conditions, and the reason that use of a child passenger safety seat system or seat safety belt is inappropriate.

Your child may be exempt from Arkansas’ Mandatory Seat Belt Use law of he or she is being transported in a passenger automobile manufactured before July 1, 1968; in any other motor vehicle manufactured before January 1, 1972; or in a school bus, church bus, or other public conveyance.

Your child may be exempt from Arkansas’ Mandatory Seat Belt Use law if he or she has a physical disability contraindicating the use of a seat belt which is certified by a physician stating the nature of the disability and the reason that seat belt use is inappropriate.

* Ms. Blake is licensed in the state of Maryland. The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Attorney Denise A. Blake*

Denise practices family law at Blake Law, LLC in Westminster, Maryland. She holds a Juris Doctor with an emphasis in Family Law from the University of Baltimore School of Law.