In this post, I will be walking you through various aspects of Alabama Car Seat Laws to help you clear your doubts in the best possible way that we can.
Alabama car seat laws can be quite tricky at times as they are changing on a frequent basis and these changes can drastically impact the timespan that a child will have to stay in a car seat.
Of course, the law also talks about the type of car seat that they would need.
Unfortunately, if you’re not properly aligned with the car seat laws then you don’t have an option but to pay the penalty.
So, without any further ado, let’s begin…
Alabama Child Restraint Law
As per Alabama Child Restraint Law, any person who is carrying a child in a motor vehicle on a roadway, highway, or even street has the sole responsibility for the child’s protection which can be easily achieved by providing the child with protection such as a child restraint system.
The term “motor vehicle” includes:
- Pickup Trucks
- Sport Utility Vehicles
Types of Car Seats
If you’re a first-time buyer of a child car seat then the probability is quite high that you might not be aware of the fact that there are only four types of restraints that your child would need over the course of their life including:
- Rear-facing Car Seat
- Forward Facing Car Seat
- Booster Seat
- Seat Belt
Rear-Facing Car Seat
The terms and conditions for the use of a rear-facing car seat are that your child’s age should be below 2 years as well and weight and height shouldn’t exceed the manufacturer’s limit.
If any of the two aforementioned conditions aren’t satisfied then S/he has to move to the next level car seat.
To be in a rear-facing seat, your child should
- Age should fall between newborn to 2 years
- S/he should weigh in the range of 35-50 pounds, again it depends to a large extent on the car seat – most convertible rear-facing car seats allow up to 50 pounds
- Most importantly, the child’s head shouldn’t be by any means closer than 1 inch to the top of the car seat
Things parents need to consider when putting their children in a rear-facing car seat:
- The clip needs to be at level with the armpits as well as placed in the middle of the child’s chest
- The straps need to be comfortably placed at or below the child’s shoulder as well as flat against the child’s body
Below are the important rules that one needs to follow with the rear-facing car seat:
- Rear-facing car seats must be placed in the back of the car and not in front by any means
- Also, rear-facing car seats shouldn’t be placed in a forward-facing position
- Refrain from putting rear-facing car seats in front of an active airbag
- As an informed and educated parent, it is solely your responsibility to ensure that the harness is placed comfortably around your kid
- The harness clip must be leveled with the armpits and should be placed at the center of the chest
- For securing the car seat in the vehicle you must use an anchor or the latch system
Forward Facing Car Seat
If your kid has crossed the age bar of 2 years then he or she can be comfortably placed in a forward-facing car seat.
Also, your child must meet the height and weight limits set by the manufacturer.
When considering a forward-facing car seat, your child should be:
- In the age group of 2 & 3
- Shouldn’t be less than 20 pounds or more than 50 pounds
When choosing a forward-facing car seat, follow these tips:
- Your child’s head should be within a 1-inch range from the top of the plastic shell of your car seat
- Not only should the clip be placed in the middle of the chest but also be leveled with the armpits
- The straps should be kept flat against your child’s body, and they should be snug as well as sit at or above your child’s shoulders
There are a few rules to follow with the front-facing car seat such as:
- It’s the parent’s responsibility to ensure that the car seat is in the back seat and not in the front seat
- Also, the car seat shouldn’t be put in front of an active airbag
- A Latch or an anchor system needs to be used to make sure that the car seat is secured
- The harness needs to be snug and positioned in such a way that it is level with the child’s armpits as well as the center of the chest
Well, if your child has crossed the height and weight limit for the front-facing car seat then a belt-positioning booster seat can be a viable option.
If you are considering purchasing a booster, your child should be:
- The age should fall in the range of 8 & 12 years
- Weight should be more than 50 pounds
When using a booster, follow these tips:
- The seat belt should sit across the child’s chest and by no means should touch or lay on the neck
- Moreover, the lap belt should be across the upper thighs and low on the hip area
There are a few rules to follow with the booster seat such as:
- Well, it goes without saying that all children should sit in a booster seat till the time they are in the 8 to 12 years age group and are no taller than 4 feet 9 inches
- Make sure you use a booster for your kid till the time the seat belt in the vehicle fits the child properly
- At the same time, a belt-positioning booster seat shouldn’t be used without the lap belt as well as the shoulder belt
- Make sure the lap belt is positioned across the upper thighs
- The shoulder belt should be positioned across the child’s chest
- Make sure you use a high-back booster seat for optimum protection in case your vehicle has a low seat
- A low-back booster seat can be a viable option if your child’s ears are below the top of the seat
- Your children should stay in the booster seat till the time their feet touch the floor with their backs against the seat and their knees bent
- A booster seat gives maximum protection to your children as it raises them in the right position
Children Seat Belt
Once your kid has crossed the weight and height limit of a booster seat, he or she should be in a seat belt.
This is quite important from the time your kid has graduated from the booster seat and is through adulthood.
There are a few rules to follow with the seat belt such as:
- Only keep your child in a seat belt if S/he is able to sit in the seat belt alone
- Make sure your child uses both lap and shoulder belts at all times without fail
- The child should have the lap belt across the upper thighs
- Make sure the shoulder belt goes across the chest of your child
Special Needs Seat Belts
To be honest, there aren’t any special laws for children that have any special needs or requirements.
All they need to do is abide by the law to ride in a car seat or in a seat belt until they are old enough to sit in the seat with the seat belt properly on.
It goes without saying that car seat laws are changing on a frequent basis because of the changing scenarios.
So, it’s always advisable to be updated with the correct as well as past car seat laws in order to prevent any unprecedented scenario.
- If we go back into history then in the year 1982, children under the age of three years old were required to have a passenger restraint system that met federal and safety standards
- Almost a decade later, in 1991, anyone and everyone riding in the front seat was required to have their seat belt fastened anytime the car was in motion
- Moreover, almost after 8 years, in 1999, not using a seat belt became a primary offense
- A passenger restraint system became a MUST in 2006 for children up to 15 years of age
Taxies and Public Transportation
The Alabama Child Restraint Law doesn’t apply to a person if he or she is being transported in a child public transportation or in a passenger van that carries 11 or more people.
These services include:
- School Buses
Needless to say, Uber drivers don’t have an option but to follow the Alabama Child Restraint Laws in accordance with the state.
However, these laws aren’t the same as laws for regular vehicles.
- Children under 1 year of age must be in a rear-facing car seat
- Children under 6 years of age must be in a car seat
- Children 6-15 must wear seatbelts anytime the car is in motion
Seat Belt Penalties
Well, if a person is found to violate Alabama’s child restraint laws, then they will get a $25 dollar fine for each offense and will get points against their driving record:
- First offense-one point
- Second offense-two points
Car Seat Help for Low-Income Families
You might be wondering what if I’m not able to afford a car seat for my child?
Then, in such a scenario, you don’t have an option but to speak to someone in order to help you get one so that your kid is safe and secure.
In order to help in the best possible way that we can, here I am with some interesting ideas that can help you get financial assistance or even free car seats in Alabama:
- If you’re on a shoestring budget and can’t afford a car seat for your kid then you can get a car seat from the Children of Alabama
- Families will get a $15 voucher towards a car seat if they are in violation of having a car seat that is not the right size for their child
- In Alabama or any state, parents can contact hospitals, fire departments, and police departments to try to get a free car seat if parents cannot afford one
- Safe Kid is a program that is nationwide that will provide a car seat in exchange for parents taking a safety program
Alabama Cell Phone Usage
If your child is above 18 years of age then definitely, there are no restrictions for him for using a cell phone while driving.
Please have a quick look at the below-mentioned rules that apply to cell phone usage.
- If your child is under 18 years of age then he or she will not be allowed to use any handheld communication device while driving a car
- Underage cellphone or texting will lead to a $150 dollar to $350 dollar fine as well as two points on the motorist’s driving record
- At the same time, you must be aware of the fact that irrespective of the age of a motorist, he or she isn’t allowed to text while driving
- Texting while driving is entitled to two points to the motorist’s driving record as well as a fine. For example, you’ll be fined $25 dollar for the first offense, $50 dollar for the second offense, and $75 dollar for the third offense
- At the same time, vehicular homicide charges can be applied in case someone dies as a result of these convictions
- Cellphone violation can become a reckless driving conviction based on the violation
Texting includes instant messages, email, and texting. The texting ban does not include:
- A device that is used to call emergency services including an ambulance or a police officer
- Using a GPS to get directions that are pre-programmed
- Using the phone for texting while parked on the side of the road or on the shoulder
Yellow Dot Program
Well, Alabama is a part of the “Yellow Dot Program” which helps it to keep the residents safe and secure in the case of an unprecedented event such as a car crash.
In order to avail of the benefits of the Yellow Dot Program, residents of Alabama need to enroll in the program.
The residents of Alabama who enroll in the program will receive a yellow dot recall that they need to put on their car.
Furthermore, participants are needed to fill out a few forms listing critical information including their names, their doctor’s name, and most importantly, emergency contact numbers.
Once the information is filled, all you need to do is place these forms in a folder in the driver’s glove compartment.
As soon as the first responder in Alabama arrives at the scene of an accident, the first thing that they do is look for the yellow dot on the vehicle.
If they see the yellow dot on the car’s side rear window, they know to check the glove compartment for the driver’s critical information.
To be honest, this piece of information could be of great help to people who’ve been severely injured in a car crash.
In case, you’re interested in knowing more about the YELLOW DOT PROGRAM, then please refer to this link.
How do Alabama’s Child Car Seat Laws Compare to Federal Guidelines?
Alabama legislators created the state’s car seat laws to keep children safe and secure on the road.
You can check and download the pdf from this link – https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/documents/carseat-recommendations-for-children-by-age-size.pdf.
As per the laws in the Yellowhammer State, every kid must use a rear-facing seat till the time they reach the age of one.
On the other hand, the NHTSA says that a child shouldn’t leave a rear-facing seat till the time they exceed either the weight or height limit or both.
Rules in the state of Alabama ask children to travel in a front-facing safety seat till the time they are either 40 pounds or five years old.
In the state of Alabama, a child must remain in a booster seat until they reach the age of 6 or exceed the weight and height limit set by the manufacturer.
According to federal guidelines, a kid should stay in this type of safety device until he can wear a seat belt properly.
Where Can Alabama Parents Get Help Installing a Child Safety Seat?
Needless to say, if you’re a first-time buyer with no prior experience then it can be quite tricky to install a child car safety seat properly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, parents in the United States make errors during the installation process around 49 percent of the time if not MORE.
Unfortunately, a wrong installation drastically reduces the safety associated with the car seat making your child more prone to accidents.
Nonetheless, you don’t need to worry as help is available for parents who want to make sure their child’s restraint is safe for use.
If you’re one such parent and want to get in touch with a local Child Passenger Safety Technician who can take a look at their seat and make any necessary adjustments then you must contact the NHTSA’s website.
And, the best news is that most places in Alabama have multiple technicians so finding one shouldn’t be an issue for you.
Dangers Associated with Defective Child Car Seats in Alabama
The main purpose of a child safety seat is to keep your kid safe and secure during an unprecedented event such as a road accident.
But, in order to achieve optimum results, a car safety seat must be free from flaws and defects.
It goes without saying that a poorly made restraint system can be ineffective and dangerous.
Let’s have a quick look at some of the most common flaws and defects that are found in child car seats in the state of Alabama.
- Broken adjusters
- Flammable materials
- Cracked or chipped frames
- Ripped or frayed straps
- Faulty latches
Unfortunately, below mentioned injuries are very common when a child traveling in a car seat that consists of one or more defects gets involved in a severe car accident.
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Eye injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Facial disfigurement
The aforementioned list of injuries is severe and needs special attention.
Unfortunately, they can cause a great deal of pain, and in the worst case scenario, they can even leave victims with permanent disabilities or life-long health challenges.
So, it becomes really necessary to buy a child safety seat that is completely free from defects.
Let’s understand it with an example.
A kid who is sustaining injuries in an auto accident requires a lot of medical treatment – from surgery to physical therapy.
Unfortunately, such procedures in spite of being necessary can cost you a good lump sum.
You might be wondering what if I don’t have so much money for treatment?
Well, in such a scenario, the best thing that you can do is to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective car seat and the money that you’ll get in return will most probably cover all the expenses.
Compensation Available in Alabama Defective Car Seat Lawsuits
Below is the list of compensations that are available in Alabama defective car seat lawsuits.
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitative care costs
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The kids who suffer injuries that leave them with long-term disabilities generally receive the most substantial compensatory awards.
In this section, I will be responding to the queries related to ALABAMA CAR SEAT LAWS.
In case of any doubt or query, feel free to reach out to us via the contact form, and our core team would be more than happy to assist you in the best possible that they could.
Does it make sense?
What are the height and weight requirements for a booster seat in Alabama?
The height should not be more than 4 feet 9 inches and the weight should be less than 40 pounds.
What are the requirements for car seats in Alabama?
- A rear-facing restraint is a must for all the kids of Alabama who are less than 12 months old or weigh less than 20 pounds
- A forward-facing restraint is a must for all the child of Alabama whose age falls in the range of 1 and 5 years and weighs less than 40 pounds
- Lastly, a booster seat is a must for all the children whose age falls in the range of 5 & 6 years
When can a child get out of a car seat in Alabama?
A child once crosses the weight and height limit of a forward-facing car seat limit then S/he is put across a belt-positioning booster seat till the time the vehicle seat belt fits properly.
In simple words, a child can get out of a car seat in Alabama when she is 4 feet 9 inches tall and her age falls in the range of 8 and 12 years.
Does a 7-year-old need a booster seat in Alabama?
If your child’s weight and height fall in the range of a booster seat set by the manufacturer then definitely, S/he should be a booster seat.
It’s A Wrap
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To cut a long story short, Alabama car seat laws are meant to keep your child safe and secure in the case of an unprecedented event including a car accident.
However, as a parent, it is solely your responsibility to buy a car safety seat for your child that is free from flaws and defects.
Else, a defective safety car seat can do more harm than good in case of an accident.
Moreover, as a responsible parent, it is your responsibility to check the weight, height, and age restrictions set by the manufacturer when buying a new safety car seat.
These car seat laws have protected a large number of children and will definitely protect your kids as well.
All you need to do is to follow these car seat laws without fail.
That’s all, as of now:):):)[Related]