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Tennessee Car Seat Laws - Using a Child Passenger Restraint System

There were 208,610 car accidents in Tennessee in 2018. Out of all these incidents, over 1000 of them were fatal. In most of the accidents, minors of various ages were the ones who lost their lives or suffered severe injuries, but what would be the reason for this?

These cases are often related to the inappropriate use of a child safety restraint system, or in worst-case scenarios, the parents were found to be irresponsible when putting kids in their car seats or booster seat.

Therefore, several Tennessee state law mandates have been put in place to help decrease the severe injuries that young children are prone to receive. The sad thing is that if parents keep behaving in a manner that is irresponsible and doesn't follow Tennessee's child restraint laws, nothing is going to change. You can have the best child safety seat or booster seat, but you must use it correctly.

Today we have listed all the Tennessee car seat laws that aid you in learning to become a responsible citizen and parent. You are going to find out what is the best way to protect your little ones while navigating the nation's roads and abiding by the child restraint law.

Tennessee Car Seat Safety Law

Tennessee Car Seat Safety Law

In 1978, Tennessee was the first state that suggested that a car seat law be put in place that required parents to use an appropriate infant seat or child restraint system. These child restraint systems are meant to meet federal standards and consider all aspects of the child's safety.

In 2016 the car seat use laws were adjusted to suit more modern-day child safety systems. These laws are still applicable in 2021 and form a big part of future motor vehicle safety standards.

The law states that children who are younger than 16 are the responsibility of the driver. They must use a child restraint system that corresponds with the federal motor vehicle safety standards and suggestions. These are set out in Tennessee law and, if not obeyed, can lead to criminal charges being issued against you.

All seats, including rear-facing car seats, booster seats, a safety seat, and forward-facing seats, must follow the child's development and protect them in the case of an automobile collision. A convertible car seat is a form of modified child restraint that helps give the child's parent peace of mind. This type of seat is also included within child restraint laws in Tennessee.

Lastly, these seats must protect your child's head and neck from any possible harm or injury that they could encounter in a car crash. If your child has been injured in an accident, contact the leading injury lawyers at The Keating Firm to get the compensation you deserve.

Tennessee Car Seat Safety Law for Infants and Toddlers

Newborns and children age 1-year old who weigh 20 pounds or less have a specific child passenger restraint law set out for them. There is one primary law that must be followed: all infants traveling in motor vehicles must use rear-facing car seats or an infant car seat.

This suggestion is according to the federal motor vehicle safety standards and must be taken seriously to protect your children.

You must know that the car seat is placed and installed correctly, checked for safety, and approved by professionals. A car seat inspection ensures that your child is going to be adequately restrained in the event of any car crashes.

So, if this is the first time you are using a child safety system, do not hesitate to ask instructors or safety technicians for assistance. They can help you and show you how to install the rear seat or child safety restraint system correctly.

Tennessee Car Seat Safety Laws for 1-3 Year Old Children

If your kids are between 1 and 3 years old and are more than 20 pounds in weight, you should put them in a suitable forward-facing car seat. The forward-facing seat must follow the federal motor vehicle safety standards set out by Tennessee law.

Parents of the children should also bear in mind that it is best to keep their children in the rear seat of the automobile, especially when in the forward-facing position since this offers maximum stability and security in the event of a car crash.

It provides total child safety protection for your little ones eliminating the stress and worry of traveling with kids.

Tennessee Car Seat Safety Law for 4-8 Year Old Kids

The Tennessee car seat laws state that all children who are shorter than 4 feet and 9 inches that are between 4 and 8 years old should be placed in a booster seat that obeys the federal motor vehicle safety standards. Furthermore, the booster seat must be positioned in the rear seat of the motor vehicle to abide by the child passenger restraint law.

If the child is older than 8 years of age but is shorter than 4 feet 9 inches, they need to use the correct seat belt system. The seat belt system must abide by the federal motor vehicle standards and instructions, much like any other adult seat belt.

Tennessee Car Seat Safety Law for 9 to 12 Year Old Children

The child passenger safety law in Tennessee indicates that kids between 9 and 12 years of age and who are taller than 4 feet 9 inches must use a suitable seat belt system that follows federal motor vehicle safety regulations and standards.

For maximum safety and protection, it is recommended that they use the rear seats and seat belts.

When Can Parents Let Children Sit in the Front Seats in Tennessee?

The safety belt law in Tennessee requires that younger children have to sit on the back seats of a motor vehicle for better shielding and safety.

More crucially, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office proposes that your children remain sitting in the back seat and use a shoulder belt until they have reached 13 years of age. Children age 13 and above are required to wear shoulder belts at all times while traveling in motor vehicles.

Is It Illegal to Leave My Child Alone in the Car in Tennessee?

The answer is "yes." You are breaking the law. As stated in the Tennessee child passenger safety law, you are putting your child in a dangerous situation.

These situations include but are not limited to the following:

  • If dangerous conditions exist, your child might suffer from severe injuries.

  • If there isn't another child who is 12 years or older to help take care of the younger kid.

  • If the car engine is running, or the keys are somewhere in the vehicle, making them available to the child.

Situations like these are all causes for concern and seen as punishable offenses by the child safety laws in Tennessee.

Is it Illegal to Smoke with a Child Passenger in a Car in Tennessee?

There is no official legislation on this issue. Therefore smoking in a motor vehicle with a child is entirely legal.

Please note that passive smokers are more prone to damage to their lungs and often suffer more than active ones. It would be best if you think twice before lighting up and smoking around your children and others. It is time to start being responsible and respect the health of your little ones and the people you love.

Taxi and Car Seat Safety Laws in Tennessee

The safety seat laws in Tennessee states that companies and taxi vehicles are an exception to the rules and regulations. That means that they do not have to ensure your children are protected and safe in their automobiles.

They don't need to obtain a car seat while traveling with other people's kids, but they must handle any concerns you might have.

Their main task is to allow parents to use a child passenger restraint system to protect their children. In nearly all cases, parents want to protect their children, so this is a common thing that taxi drivers and child shuttle services deal with daily. It is not uncommon for the child's parents to provide a booster seat or child safety seat to the person transporting their kids.

Suppose you consider taxis unreliable and can always check out Uber and see the child safety seat regulations that are on offer. You could also use a rented car or safety seats to ensure your children have the best possible security and protection.

Replacing Car Seats After an Accident in Tennessee

Replacing Car Seats After an Accident in Tennessee

There are currently no laws concerning this problem, so your best option would be to follow the vehicle manufacturer's instructions and the vehicle owner's manual to find out more. That can give you the relevant information about what to do with a vehicle seat after a car collision.

You can always check out and follow the advice and suggestions from NHTSA. There you can find the best guide to help you when you are in those kinds of situations.


As we have shown you, the state of Tennessee has many car seat safety laws for children age from newborn to sixteen. These laws must be obeyed and followed if you want to help in reducing the number of car accidents and protect your kids from severe injuries. If they become injured after an accident, a Nashville car accident lawyer can help.

Therefore, it is a great idea to read through the Tennessee car seat laws thoroughly so that you are up to date. Remembering all the important information can help to keep your kids safe and alive, so start acting responsibly.

For more legal information on topics like common law marriage in Tennessee, visit The Keating Firm's blog page.

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