Tennessee Car Seat Laws: How to Be a Responsible Parent

In 2018, Tennessee had 208,605 car accidents.

Almost 1,000 of them were fatal. In most accidents, children of various ages were the main targets.

But what would be the reason?

We can only guess; however, we know where the question will lead us - to the inappropriate use of child restraint systems and, even worse, to parents' irresponsibility.

Therefore, the Tennessee officials and safety representatives proposed various Tennessee car seat laws to reduce the number of car crashes, decrease the severe injuries the children are prone to, and to keep them safe on the road.

But, if parents keep behaving irresponsibly, nothing will change.

Hence, we have listed various safety laws to learn how to be responsible parents and citizens and the best ways to protect your little ones.

Let's go through them together.

Tennessee Car Seat Safety Law

tennessee car seat laws 2022

The history shows that in 1978, Tennessee was the first US state that proposed a car seat law that required parents to place their children into appropriate child restraint systems that were meeting federal standards and keeping them safe on the roads.

But, due to various time changes, the seat laws changed as well.

Thus, from 2016, there have been only slight changes in the law. The law is still applicable in 2022.

Thus, the law states that all children younger than sixteen are the driver's responsibility, and they must use child restraint systems by federal motor vehicle safety standards and suggestions.

Besides, the rear-facing/forward-facing/booster seats must follow their development and shield them in the case of a car collision. 

Finally, seats must protect their heads and necks from any possible injuries and other harms.

1. Tennessee Car Seat Safety Law for Infants/Toddlers

For all newborns, or younger than one year old and weighing twenty pounds or less, the law is the following: namely, all of them must use the rear-facing car seats or infant-only car seats, according to the federal motor vehicle safety standards.

It is also imperative for you to know that your car seat is correctly installed and placed, checked, and approved by professionals.

So, if the center is your first one, don't hesitate to ask safety technicians/instructors to help you and show you how to install them correctly.

2. Tennessee Car Seat Safety Laws for One to Three-years-old Kids

If your little ones are between one and three years old and weigh more than twenty pounds, you should place them in convenient forward-facing car seats that follow the federal motor vehicle safety standards.

The parents should also know that it would be best if they kept their children in the back seat of their motor vehicles since these seats will provide the maximum stability and the best security in the case of a car crash.

This way, nothing wrong will happen to children.

3. Tennessee Car Seat Safety Law for Four to Eight-year-olds

According to the law, all kids between four and eight years old and shorter than four feet nine inches must be positioned in convenient booster car seats obeying the federal motor vehicle safety standards.

Moreover, the booster seats must be placed in the back seats of the motor vehicles.

However, suppose children are older than eight years of age but still shorter than four feet nine inches.

In that case, they must use the correct seat belt systems, also in accordance with the federal motor vehicle safety standards and instructions.

4. Tennessee Car Seat Safety Law for Nine to Twelve-years-old Children

tennessee child car seat laws

As the Tennessee child passenger safety law indicates, the children between nine and twelve years old who are more significant than four feet nine inches must use the appropriate seat belt systems following the federal motor vehicle safety regulations and standards.

Furthermore, they should use the rear seats for maximum safety and protection.

When Can Parents Place Their Little Ones in the Front Seats in Tennessee?

According to the safety law, children younger than eight must sit in motor vehicles' back seat for better safety and protection.

More vitally, the Tennessee High Office suggests that your kiddos should stay in your car's back seat until they reach thirteen years of their age.

Am I Violating the Law if I Leave My Child Alone in the Car in Tennessee?

Yes, you are! According to the Tennessee child, passenger safety law, you violate the law in the following situations:

1. If the conditions are dangerous and your child might get severe injuries

2. If there is no other kid who is twelve years old or even older to take care of the younger kid

3. If the vehicle engine is working, or the keys are everywhere in the passenger compartment so that they are available to the child

Is It an Illegal Action if I Smoke With a Child Passenger in My Car in Tennessee?

Currently, there is no official legislation regarding this issue; therefore, you are allowed to smoke in a motor vehicle with child/children.

However, you should be aware that passive smokers are more prone to damage their health than active ones since they inhale the smoke; hence, you should think before you start smoking near children.

Taxis and Car Seat Safety Laws in Tennessee

car seat laws in tennessee

As the safety law states, taxi vehicles and companies are an exception to the safety regulations and rules.

Thus, they don't have to make sure you're sure your children are safe and protected in their motor vehicles, neither they must obtain car seats in the cars.

However, it is their primary task to allow parents to use child restraint systems if they want and thus protect their babies.

But, if you consider cabs unreliable, you can always check Uber and their car seat regulations or use rented cars or even seats to make sure your children have the best possible protection and security.

Replacing Car Seats After the Accidents in Tennessee

As there are no current laws concerning this problem, your best option would be to follow the instruction manual and the manufacturer's recommendations on what you should do after the car collision.

Or, you can always check NHTSA's advice and suggestions since they can best guide you on what to do in those situations.

Personal Injury Lawyers in Tennessee

Suppose you had a car collision, and you got hurt, or even worse, your kid got hurt. What should you do next?

Naturally, you need to call a personal injury lawyer.

Hence, you can contact David E. Gordon, an exceptional Tennessee lawyer, and see what he could do for you.

Contact him on (901)-446-0836 and get your free consultation to solve your problems.


As we have seen, the state of Tennessee has multiple car seat safety laws for all children of all ages.

We should follow and obey them if we want to reduce the number of car collisions and protect our kids from severe injuries.

Therefore, my advice is to read the Tennessee car seat laws, remember all the necessary information to keep children safe and alive, and start acting responsibly!

If the article was helpful, please, contact me via email to let me know!

Avatar of Kathy Warner

Kathy Warner

Kathy is a busy mother of two and a CPS technician for more than eight years. Her mission is to awaken parents to the importance of child passenger safety and show them the right practice. You can read more about her here

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