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Child Restraint Law

The following changes have been made to the Child Passenger Restraint Law effective July 1st, 2004.

For more information on Tennessee's Child Restraint Laws, refer to T.C.A. 55-9-602. Click here to access a free online version of Tennessee Code Annotated.

  • Children under one (1) year of age, or any child, weighing twenty (20) pounds or less, must be secured in a child passenger restraint system in a rear facing position, meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards, in a rear seat, if available, or according to the child safety restraint system or vehicle manufacturer's instructions. (Note: If the child safety seat has a higher rear-facing weight rating, usually 30 or 35 pounds, it may be continued to be used in a rear-facing position so long as the child's weight permits. Check the manufacturers instructions accompanying the child safety seat for more information.)
  • Children age one (1) through age three (3), and weighing more than twenty (20) pounds, must be secured in a child safety seat in a forward facing position in the rear seat, if available, or according to the child safety restraint system or vehicle manufacturer's instructions.
  • Children age four (4) through age eight (8), and measuring less than four feet nine inches (4'9") in height, must be secured in a belt-positioning booster seat system, meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards in the rear seat, if available, or according to the child safety restraint system or vehicle manufacturer's instructions. (Note: If the child is not between age four (4) and age eight (8), but is less than four feet nine inches (4'9") in height, he/she must still use a seat belt system meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.)
  • Children age nine (9) through age twelve (12), or any child through twelve (12) years of age, measuring four feet nine inches (4'9") or more in height, must be secured in a seat belt system. It is recommended that any such child be placed in the rear seat, if available. (Note: If the child is not between age nine (9) and age twelve (12), but is four feet nine inches (4'9") or more in height, he/she must still use a seat belt system meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.)
  • Children age thirteen (13) through age fifteen (15) must be secured by using a passenger restraint system, including safety belts, meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.
  • Provision is made for the transportation of children in medically prescribed modified child restraints. A copy of Doctor's prescription is to be carried in the vehicle utilizing the modified child restraint at all times.
  • The driver of the car is responsible for making sure that children under age sixteen (16) are properly restrained and may be charged and fined $50.00 for violation of the law. If the child's parent or legal guardian is present in the car but not driving, the parent or legal guardian is responsible for making sure that the child is properly transported and may be fined for non-compliance.
  • Police officers observing violations of this law are permitted to stop drivers and take enforcement action. PLEASE PROPERLY RESTRAIN CHILDREN