Helpful Information

Car Seat and Booster Seat Laws in Tennessee

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Jun 29, 2021

Getting into a car accident with their child is every parent's worst nightmare. Younger children are particularly vulnerable in car accidents as they are generally too small to enjoy protection from seatbelts and airbags. However, booster seats and car seats can help protect children in car accidents. Tennessee's booster seat laws are designed to keep children adequately secured and safe from injuries in accidents.

If you or your child suffered injuries in a car accident that occurred due to another party's negligence, you could potentially have legal recourse and recover damages. Our committed and compassionate car accident attorneys at Labrum Law can protect your legal rights and advise you on your legal options. Get started today and call us at (615) 338-9500 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Does My Child Need a Car or Booster Seat?

Younger children generally need car seats or booster seats. While seatbelts and airbags can offer invaluable protection to older children and adults, they not only prove useless for protecting younger children in accidents but can even be damaging to babies and young children, potentially causing serious head and neck injuries.

Many states, including Tennessee, have laws requiring children of certain ages to be in specific car seats or booster seats while traveling in a vehicle. Booster seats must be appropriate to a child's age and size to protect them from injuries in accidents. Child car seats are designed to:

  • Keep the child's head and neck secure
  • Protect the child from flying debris
  • Raise a child up for the seatbelt to fit correctly

If you are a parent, knowing about booster seats and appropriate car seats can help keep your child safe in the car and potentially save your child's life.

What Is the Tennessee Child Restraint Law?

When it comes to car seat laws in Tennessee, it is important to note that not just the parents of a minor but all vehicle drivers are generally responsible for ensuring minors are buckled in and safely secured. Per the Tennessee Child Restraint Laws, Tennessee Code § 55-9-602, not restraining children adequately in vehicles can result in a misdemeanor charge and a fine of $50.

The Main Points of the Tennessee Child Restraint Laws

A driver or parent must ensure all minor passengers are safely secured in the vehicle. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, the main points of the child restraint law are as follows:

Children Younger Than one Year

Generally, children under one year old or weighing less than 20 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing child restraint system that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards, in a rear seat. 

Children Between one and Three Years old

Children one to three years old weighing 20 pounds or more should be secured in a forward-facing child safety seat in the rear seat.

Children Aged Four Years to Eight Years

Once a child has reached four years of age and is less than four feet and nine inches tall, they should be secured in a rear-seat booster seat that allows them to use the seat belt safely. Children of other ages, as long as they are less than four feet nine inches in height, must also be secured in a booster seat.

Children Aged Nine to Twelve Years

Children aged nine to twelve years or children of any age that are at least four feet and nine inches or more in height should be secured in a seatbelt system in the rear seat, if possible.

Children through to 15 years of age must be secured with a passenger restraint system, such as a seatbelt, that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards. 


Children with medical conditions can be exempt from the above requirements in certain circumstances. However, drivers must carry a copy of a physician's prescription as proof of the medical condition. It is important to note that even with medical exceptions, drivers must secure the child in a specially modified safety restraint by law and carry signed certification.

Tennessee Car Seat Laws And Accidents

Sometimes, despite the best efforts of a parent or driver, an accident happens where a child was improperly secured or in the wrong type of car seat. If this has happened to you, and the other driver is at fault for your accident, you might wonder whether you are now unable to claim compensation for your child's injuries.

Generally, the at-fault party in your accident will not be able to use the fact that your child was improperly secured against you in an insurance claim or lawsuit. However, these types of cases can be somewhat legally complex and complicated as the defendant and their insurance company may try to minimize your claim and recovery. They can potentially argue that your child would have suffered fewer or less serious injuries had they been properly restrained.

Never assume that you do not have a claim simply because you or your child were not properly restrained. If someone else caused your accident and injuries due to carelessness or recklessness, you are generally entitled to damages. However, having an experienced lawyer by your side can be crucial when fault and negligence are contested.

A Car Accident Lawyer From Labrum Can Help

Defendants and insurance companies can try to employ various manipulative tactics to get out of paying adequate compensation to you and offering you a fair and just settlement offer. One of those tactics can be claiming that your injuries or the injuries of your child are entirely your fault and resulted from your failure to follow the car seat laws in Tennessee. When this happens, professional legal representation can protect your rights to justice and compensation.

Experiencing a serious car accident, especially if your child suffered injuries, is stressful enough without the additional headache of fighting insurance companies for fair compensation. Let a dedicated car accident lawyer from Labrum Law Firm advise you and help you with a claim. We can defend your legal rights and work tirelessly for the best possible outcome of your car accident case.

Labrum Law has a track record of helping car accident victims recover what they need and deserve. We do not take any money unless we win your case and you recover a settlement. Speak to a member of our dedicated legal team now to find out about your options and the next best steps. Call us at (615) 338-9500 to schedule a free consultation.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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