Kansas Car Seat Laws and Protocols You Need to Know

Based on the data gathered by Safe Kids Kansas, there are about 490 unintentional injury deaths that occur in children aged 0 to 19. Among the various causes of these deaths, motor vehicle crashes seem to have the highest percentage.

Additionally, a 10-year data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Restraint Use in Kansas showed a 7.5% rate of death (per 100,000 population) for children aged 0 to 20.

The numbers above are quite alarming, aren't they?

As parents, you don't want to put the life of your children at risk. Thus, it is best to be aware of the Kansas Car Seat Laws and Protocols. This way, you are increasing the potential of saving your children from injuries and deaths, and at the same time becoming a responsible citizen of your state.

Kansas Car Seat Laws

kansas car seat laws 2020

Under the Kansas Child Passenger Safety Act, all children under the age of four should use restraining systems while those ages four to eight must be in a booster seat while riding in a moving vehicle.

Basically, this law applies to passenger vehicles that are designed to carry less than ten passengers. The Kansas car seat requirements depend significantly on the child's age and weight; thus, they are broken down into various stages to ensure the safest practices.

Four Main Kansas Car Seat Stages

As recommended by the Kansas Highway Patrol, here are the four steps that can merely act as guides.

1. Rear-Facing Car Seats for Infants

A child below 12 months should always ride a rear-facing car seat positioned in the vehicle's back seat. While there are different types of rear-facing car seats, the infant-only seat should only be used rear-facing.

Typically, the 3-in-1 and convertible car seats offer higher height and weight limits, which allow the usage for a longer time.

Using a rear-facing car seat for infants is the best option since it comes with a harness that cradles and moves with the child during a crash. This will reduce stress, which can cause damage to the neck and spinal cord.


2. Forward-Facing Car Seat for Toddlers

Once the child outgrows the use of a rear-facing car seat, usually at the age of 1 to 3, traveling in a forward-facing car seat with a harness is the next best option.

The presence of the harness and tether help limit the child's forward movement when a crash occurs.


3. Booster Seat

Children four to seven years old are required to ride in a booster seat, still positioned in the back seat. This will position the seat belt to ensure proper fitting over the body's stronger parts.

However, there are a few exceptions on the use of a booster seat:

  • If the child weighs more than 80 pounds.
  • If the child is taller than 4'9".
  • If only the lap belt is available.

Those who meet the above-mentioned height and weight criteria must use a seat belt for better protection.


4. Seat Belt

kansas car seat booster seat laws

Be sure that the lap belt is secure across the child's upper thighs to ensure proper fit of the seat belt. The shoulder should also lie snugly across the chest and shoulder, instead of crossing the neck or face.

The child should still occupy the back seat until the age of 13 since it is safer to ride as far away from the airbags.

Moreover, parents should ensure that children meet the five-point test before using the vehicle's installed seatbelt:

  1. 1
    The back is against the vehicle's seat back.
  2. 2
    The knees can comfortably bend at the edge of the seat.
  3. 3
    The lap belt sits on the top of the thighs.
  4. 4
    The shoulder belt sits between the neck and shoulders, across the chest.
  5. 5
    The child can sit properly without slouching.

Important

The child should be mature enough to maintain position and to refrain from playing with the seat belt. Parents should also ensure that the child can stay in a safe position when having a nap.

Penalty for Violations

Any violations of the Child Passenger Safety Act will cost around $60 plus court costs.

The penalty will be waived if there is any proof provided to the court, such as acquiring a child safety seat. However, the court cost will still apply.

Provisions

  • No violation if only the lap belt is available in the vehicle.
  • No violation if the number of children is more than the number of securing locations, given that the securing locations are in proper use.
  • A single violation exists even when there is more than one child that is not properly restrained.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a Child Ride the Front Seat?

Under the Kansas Law, children who are 14 to 18 years old can ride the front seat. However, it is still safer for them to occupy the back seat.

Moreover, a child is prohibited from riding areas not designed for passengers, including the back of a pickup truck.

kansas child car seat laws

2. Can You Leave a Child Alone in a Car?

There is no clear law about leaving a child in private vehicles. But, those in daycare home businesses are not allowed to leave children below ten years old without any adult supervision.


3. Is Smoking with a Child in a Car Illegal?

There is no law indicating any smoking prohibitions in vehicles when children are on board. The Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act only mentions that it is prohibited to smoke in taxis and limousines.

However, some parts of Kansas consider smoking as illegal. You can check the specific rules with the local health department for more information.


4. Where to Purchase a Restraint System?

Restraint systems for children are available at department stores and other retail outlets. You may contact the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office for more information and assistance regarding the nearest seat inspection station.

Kansas Child Passenger Safety Resources

The ultimate mission of these resources is to provide social and community services towards the well-being of the people living in Kansas.

1. Public Safety Programs

The Child Passenger Safety Program offers one-on-one training classes from a certified Public Resource Officer (PRO). The officer educates the public, both children and adults, on the proper installation and use of infant seats, car seats, booster seats, and seat belts to ensure safety. 

kansas state car seat laws

2. Kansas Booster Seat Organization

The Kansas Booster Seat will guide and help you in choosing the appropriate safety restraint system for your child.


3. Car Seat Inspection Station

To ensure proper security of the child in the safety seat, you can make an appointment with a seat technician nearest you. This offers a free seat check-up and installations by well-trained technicians located at the troop's headquarters.


4. Children's Mercy Hospital Car Seat Program

The Children's Mercy Hospital offers car seat programs that include special casts and long leg casts for special needs car seats. They will assess the needs at discharge, depending on the type of cast and the child's ability to sit.

Final Thoughts

As residents of the state of Kansas, be responsible and do your part. Buckle up! Not only because it's the law but also for the welfare of everyone, especially the children. 

Participate and be one towards achieving the goal of "Drive to Zero."