Mississippi Car Seat Laws

Car seat laws in mississippi

Ensuring your child’s safety while on the road is a top priority for every parent and guardian. Understanding and complying with Mississippi’s car seat laws is vital in protecting your little ones and avoiding legal penalties.

At Gidden Law Firm, P.A., we provide this comprehensive guide to Mississippi car seat laws to help you navigate the specific requirements and ensure your child’s safety. Read on to learn about the different types of car seats, the age and size requirements, and best practices for proper installation and usage of child safety seats.

What Type of Car Seat Should I Use For My Child?

Choosing the right car seat for your child is essential for their safety and complying with Mississippi’s car seat laws. The type of car seat your child needs depends on their age, weight, and height. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of car seats and the requirements for each:

Rear-Facing Car Seat Law in Mississippi

In Mississippi, infants and toddlers should be placed in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the highest weight or height the car seat manufacturer allows. Typically, this means children should remain rear-facing until they are at least two years old. Rear-facing seats provide better support for a child’s head, neck, and spine in a motor vehicle crash.

Forward-Facing Car Seat Law in Mississippi

Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, they should transition to a forward-facing car seat with a harness. Mississippi law requires children to remain in a forward-facing car seat until they reach the maximum height or weight limit specified by the car seat manufacturer. Typically, children can use a forward-facing seat until they are at least 4 years old.

Booster Seats in Mississippi

After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat, children should use a booster seat. Mississippi law mandates that children use a booster seat until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and weigh over 65 pounds. Booster seats help position the vehicle’s seat belt properly over the child’s shoulders and lap, ensuring a secure fit and better protection in an accident.

If the child is over 7 years old, at least 57 inches tall, or over 65 pounds, they can use an adult seat belt without a booster seat.

When Can A Child Sit In The Front Seat In Mississippi?

Determining the appropriate time for your child to sit in the front seat of a vehicle is important for their safety and for complying with Mississippi’s laws. Here’s what you need to know about car seat safety for older children:

  • Mississippi Law and Recommendations: While Mississippi law does not specify a particular age for a child to sit in the front seat, safety experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommend that children under 13 ride in the back seat. The back seat is generally safer for children, providing better protection from front-end collisions and the force of deployed airbags.
  • Airbag Safety: If your child must ride in the front seat due to the lack of rear seating options (e.g., in a single-cab truck), ensure the passenger-side airbag is disabled if possible. Airbags deploy with significant force and can cause severe injury or even death to young children sitting in the front seat.
  • Proper Use of Seat Belts: Children should always use seat belts that fit properly regardless of where they sit. For a child to safely sit in the front seat, they should be tall enough for the adult seat belt to fit correctly—typically when they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall. The lap belt should lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach, and the shoulder belt should lie across the shoulder and chest, not the neck or face. Kids in the backseat or passenger seat must comply with all state and local seat belt laws.
  • Booster Seat Use: Children still using a booster seat should continue to sit in the back until they outgrow the booster and can use the seat belt properly. Booster seats help ensure the seat belt fits correctly, offering better protection in a crash.

When Can a Child Stop Using a Booster Seat in Mississippi?

Knowing when your child can stop using a booster seat is key to ensuring their safety on the road. In Mississippi, children must use a booster seat until they meet one of the following criteria:

  • Height: The child reaches 4 feet 9 inches tall.
  • Age: The child is at least 8 years old.

These requirements ensure that the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly over the child’s shoulders and lap, offering optimal protection in a crash.

Even if your child meets the height and age requirements, the seat belt must fit correctly before transitioning out of the booster seat. Here are the key indicators of a proper seat belt fit:

  • Lap Belt: The lap belt should lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach.
  • Shoulder Belt: The shoulder belt should lie across the shoulder and chest, not the neck or face.
  • Knees and Feet: When sitting back against the seatback, the child’s knees should bend at the edge of the seat, with their feet flat on the floor.

If the seat belt does not fit properly, your child should continue using the booster seat until it does.

Safety Recommendations

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children use a booster seat until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall, regardless of age. This guideline helps ensure the seat belt fits correctly and provides adequate protection. For a comprehensive overview, visit the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards website,

How Much Is a No Child Restraint Ticket in Mississippi?

In Mississippi, the cost of a ticket for not using a child restraint system (such as a car seat or booster seat) can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the circumstances of the violation. Generally, fines for not using child restraints are set to encourage compliance with safety laws. It’s advisable to check with local law enforcement or the Mississippi Department of Public Safety for the most current fine amounts and any additional penalties associated with the violation.

How Do I Know If My Child Is Secure in Their Seat?

Always ensure your child is secure in their car seat for their safety. Here are key steps to verify their security:

  • Harness Tightness: The harness should be snug against your child’s body. You should not be able to pinch any excess webbing at the shoulders.
  • Harness Position: The harness straps should be at or below your child’s shoulders for rear-facing seats. The harness straps should be at or above the shoulders for forward-facing seats.
  • Chest Clip Position: The chest clip should be positioned across the chest at armpit level. This keeps the harness straps in the proper position.
  • Seat Belt Fit (Booster Seats): If your child is in a booster seat, ensure the seat belt lies flat across their lap and snugly across their shoulder. The lap belt should fit low and tight across the upper thighs, not the stomach.
  • Seat Installation: If using a seatbelt to secure the car seat, ensure it is securely tightened. If using LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), check that the connectors are correctly attached and tightened.
  • Seat Position: Ensure the car seat is installed correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions and recline angle guidelines.
  • No Bulky Clothing: Avoid dressing your child in bulky clothing that can compress in a crash, making the harness less effective.
  • Regular Checks: Regularly check the car seat’s installation and harness tightness to ensure they remain secure as your child grows.

For additional guidance on securing your child in their car seat or booster seat, refer to the car seat’s instruction manual or consult a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). They can provide personalized assistance and ensure your child’s safety while traveling.

How Important Are Car Seats in a Car Accident?

Car seats are critically important for protecting children and infants in a car accident. Here’s why you should be using approved child passenger restraint devices appropriate to your child’s age and size:

  • Reduced Risk of Injury: Properly installed car seats are designed to minimize the risk of injury by absorbing crash forces and distributing them away from the child’s vulnerable body parts.
  • Protection from Impact: Car seats provide a barrier between the child and hard surfaces within the vehicle, reducing the likelihood of contact injuries during a collision.
  • Restraint System: Car seats use harnesses and safety belts designed to secure children in place and prevent them from being ejected from the vehicle in a crash.
  • Legal Requirement: In many jurisdictions, using a car seat appropriate for the child’s age, weight, and height is required by law, reinforcing their importance in ensuring legal compliance and safety.
  • Peace of Mind: Using a properly installed and appropriate car seat gives caregivers peace of mind, knowing they have taken crucial steps to protect their child during travel.

Overall, car seats play a vital role in protecting children from the severe consequences of car accidents, making them an essential investment in child safety on the road.

Giddens Law Firm is Here to Help

If you or a loved one needs legal assistance following an injury caused by someone else’s neglect or recklessness, call a Mississippi personal injury lawyer at Giddens Law Firm at (601) 355-2022.

Your initial consultation with our personal injury lawyer is free of charge. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid for our services if there is a monetary recovery for you and your family. There are no out-of-pocket costs to hire an experienced attorney from Giddens Law. Let us fight for you. Call or chat with us today for your free consultation.