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The 15th largest state by state with over 2 million people, Kansas is home to many. Known as the sunflower state to some, it really does show there is no place like home, thanks to its lush greenery!
Many families have made Kansas their home, and if you are looking to raise a family there, you’ll need to know everything about Kansas car seat laws. It might not seem important at this very moment, but trust us, it will be if you want to start a family.
Car seat laws are different from state to state; in some cases, they might be similar, but they can be very different more often than not. Read on to find out everything you need to know about Kansas car seat laws.
Kansas Car Seat Laws – In Brief
The laws regarding car seats are covered in the Kansas Child Passenger Safety Act (KSA 8-1343). Under this act, children aged under 1 to the age of 13 may be required some form of safety seat. The act also covers older teenagers and seatbelts too. We’ll look at the key points of the Kansas car seat laws below.
- Children under 1 must use a rear-facing car seat for maximum safety.
- Children should stay in a rear-facing car seat till they reach the maximum weight/ height limit. If a child is over the maximum weight/ height limits, they can switch to a forward-facing car seat.
- Children aged 4 to 7 must use a booster seat unless they are over 80 pounds or taller than 4 foot 9 inches.
- Children aged 8 to 13 must wear a seatbelt. The seatbelt must fit securely; if it doesn’t, they must continue using a booster seat.
These are just some of the key points we’ll be taking a much more in-depth look at the Kansas Car Seat Laws below.
Rear-Facing Car Seats
Children under 1 and up to 4 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. It’s advised to keep your child in this type of car seat for as long as possible. Once your child reaches the maximum weight/ height limit, you should move to a front-facing seat instead.
Rear-facing car seats come in two main forms: rear-facing or convertible seats. Convertible seats can be switched between front or rear-facing and usually have higher weight limits.
Front-Facing Car Seats
Front-facing car seats are used when your child outgrows a rear-facing one. So, when your child makes the switch can vary. Typically, children aged 3 to 4 years old will have to switch to a front-facing seat.
Backless or High-Back Booster Seats
When a child outgrows their front-facing car seat, they will need a booster seat. Children aged 4 to 7 are legally required to use a booster seat, although the safety belt must fit securely. If your child weighs more than 80 pounds or is taller than 4 feet or 9 inches, then a booster seat won’t be suitable.
Children aged over 7 may also be required to use a booster seat in some circumstances too. If they don’t meet the above requirements, then they will still need to use a booster seat. However, the belt must fit securely.
Seat Belts – Everything You Need To Know
Children aged 8 and above will need to wear a seat belt, including belts attached to booster seats. Once your child outgrows their booster seat, they will be required to legally wear a seat belt at all times while in the vehicle.
For a seat belt to fit securely, it will lie across the child’s upper thighs, not the stomach, as many people think, with the shoulder belt fitting across the child’s shoulder and chest. Teenagers up to the age of 18 will also be legally required to wear a seat belt too.
What are the Penalties for Violating Kansas Car Seat Laws?
So, what are the penalties for violating Kansas car seat laws? Well, anyone found to violate the Child Passenger Safety Act will be fined. Since 2007 troopers have been able to issue citations for violations, usually resulting in a $60 fine and further potential court costs.
However, the fine will normally be waived if you provide the court with proof that you have purchased the correct safety seat. Court costs will still apply, though, even if you purchase the right seat in time.
What are the Exemptions to the Kansas Car Seat Laws?
Like always, there are some exemptions to the Kansas car seat laws. These include things like medical exemptions and emergencies. We’ve detailed how these exemptions work below.
If your child can’t use a normal car seat due to a disability or medical condition, they will usually be exempt. To ensure your exemption is legal, you will need a written certificate from a physician. Contact your local doctor/ child’s physician for more help with this.
Kansas, like many states, is somewhat vague when it comes to how emergency exemptions work. However, it is highly likely that in emergencies, like if a driver is offering roadside assistance at an accident, car seat laws are likely to be waived.
Public transport vehicles like school buses which aren’t normally fitted with seat belts will be exempt from Kansas car seat laws, as will other similar public transport vehicles.
I Live in Kansas and Can’t Afford a Car Seat. What Should I Do?
While some car seats/ booster seats can be very expensive, you don’t have to spend a lot to get something good and high-quality. Check out our recommendations for the best car seat for more information about some of the best options currently on the market.
If you are struggling to get a car seat, numerous help and support options are available. Safe Kids Kansas is one of the most popular options for parents. Let’s take a look at how these options can help.
Safe Kids Kansas
Part of the Safe Kids Worldwide network Safe Kids Kansas offers a wide variety of resources for parents to use. Including how to book an inspection for your car seat and information on local distribution programs.
Local Support Programs
One of the best options parents have for help and support for car seats is local support programs. These will usually be held at community centers, hospitals, and children’s nurseries, to name just a few.
For example, the Car Seat Program from Children’s Mercy in Kansas City provides free car seat inspections and classes for parents.
Answer: It’s advised that children stay in the back seat for as long as possible. Ideally, children should always ride in the back if they can. Although from the ages of 7 and up, children are usually safer to ride in the front as long as they follow all proper safety advice.
This will always mean wearing a seat belt and often include using a booster seat. So, while children might enjoy riding “shotgun,” it’s best to keep them in the back seat for as long as you possibly can.
Answer: The guidelines are a little vague regarding the condition and age of car seats. However, it is expected that any car seat used be in proper working condition, so buying a secondhand car seat is not recommended.
Judging the condition and security of a car seat on appearance alone isn’t easy, which is why it is strongly advised that you buy a new one. Remember, you can be fined if your car seat is improperly installed or in bad condition. In order to ensure maximum safety, buying new is for the best.
Answer: It’s always best to use the manufacturer’s warranty guidelines when deciding whether to replace your car seat or not. Every manufacturer’s guidelines will be different, but it is commonly advised that any car seat more than 6 years old should be replaced.
If your car seat is damaged, then it should definitely be replaced. If you do suffer an accident, you should also be sure to replace the car seat. Even if the seat still looks like it’s in good working condition.
Answer: Parents usually ask why they can’t simply use a seat belt for older children. Well, it’s important to remember that seat belts are designed for adults, which is why children can only use them if they are above a certain weight and height.
Our Final Thoughts on The Kansas Car Seat Laws
Kansas car seat laws are mostly to the point and easy to understand. However, like many other states, some parts are a little vague, like what will happen in case of an emergency situation.
If you are unsure of something or simply looking for more information about your car seat, check the manufacturer’s guidelines. Any parents (or soon-to-be) will also find our guide on finding the best car seat very valuable.
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