Tennessee House and Senate Pass New Car Seat Requirements

Teddy bear fastened in the back seat of a car

Have you heard about the new car seat requirements? It looks as though Tennessee law regarding car seats will now be in line with that of other states, reflecting recommendations of auto manufacturers and doctors.

The new bill will require that children sit rear-facing until two years of age, forward-facing until five years, and with a booster seat until the age of twelve or until they have reached 4 ft. 9 in. in height. Currently, the state only requires rear-facing until age one, forward facing until they are three, and use of a booster seat until age eight. This bill was passed by the house and senate and now goes to Governor Bill Haslam.

This new policy is in line with that of The American Academy of Pediatrics, which has stood by these guidelines since 2011. The AAP cites a 2007 study that found children under two years of age are “75 percent less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are riding rear-facing.” Car accidents are still the leading cause of death for children age four and up, accounting for more than 5,000 deaths every year.

If you have a child who has grown quickly and is big for their age, not to worry: there is a provision in the bill that outlines when they may need to graduate to the next seat despite their age. Always check your car seat manufacturer’s recommendations!

It is also a good idea to have your car seats checked for proper placement by a certified car seat safety technician. Click here for a list of locations you can see a safety technician. Additionally, for thorough car seat safety recommendations for babies and children, click here.