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Tennessee state law requires that all people riding in vehicles must wear safety belts. Children 8 or younger or shorter than 4 feet, 9 inches must sit in a child safety seat. This could be:
The kind of seat you need depends on your child’s size and age. Below are the rules for car seats in Tennessee:
Infants younger than 1 and children of any age who weigh 20 pounds or less must sit in a rear-facing car seat that meets federal safety standards for motor vehicles.
Children ages 1–3 who weigh more than 20 pounds must use a forward-facing car seat that meets federal safety standards for motor vehicles. If your vehicle has a back seat, the car seat must be placed there.
Children ages 4–8 who are shorter than 4 feet, 9 inches must use a belt-positioning booster seat that meets federal safety standards for motor vehicles.
If your child has special needs and cannot ride safely in a standard child safety seat, then you can use a special seat.
Finding the right seat for your child
Use the chart below to find the type of car seat required for your child. Once you know what kind of safety seat your child needs, see your vehicle owner’s manual and the car seat manual for guidelines to install the seat.
|Type of seat
|Required for children who are
|Rear-facing car seat
less than 1 year old, OR weigh 20 pounds or less, no matter how old
|Forward-facing car seat
|Age 1 – 3 years
Weigh more than 20 pounds
|Belt-positioning booster seat
|Age 4 – 8 years
Shorter than 4 feet, 9 inches
Visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov for a list of all car seats recalled since 1990. This site also ranks many new car seats on how easy they are to use and how well they secure your child.
Reviewed: August 2022