Arkansas Car Seat Laws 2023

Car seat laws play a vital role in the safety and well-being of children during transportation. 

In Arkansas, specific regulations have been implemented to protect young passengers and reduce the risk in the event of a car accident. 

As of 2023, these laws outline requirements regarding child restraint systems, age restrictions, and seat placement. 

Understanding and complying with these laws are essential responsibilities for parents and caregivers. 

This article explains the current Arkansas car seat laws and provides tips for the transportation safety of children.

Arkansas Car Seat Laws 2023

Arkansas law requires drivers to ensure that child passengers are safely restrained following their age, weight, and the applicable child passenger restraint system or safety belt regulations. 

These measures aim to prioritize the protection and well-being of young passengers while traveling on public roads. This is according to Chapter 34 of the Arkansas Child Passenger Protection Act.

The law states that infants, toddlers, and younger children must be secured in a child passenger safety seat that meets federal standards. This requirement applies until the child reaches the age of six or weighs at least 60 pounds. 

Also, School-age children who weigh 60 pounds or are at least six years old are not required to use a safety seat or car seat. However, it is still mandatory for them to wear a seatbelt while traveling.

Arkansas Rear-facing Car Seat Law

The law regarding child passenger safety seats in Arkansas does not explicitly mention rear-facing car seats. 

However, using the guidelines provided by car seat manufacturers or child experts’ recommendations is best.

The decision of when to transition a child to forward-facing will depend on the height and weight limits set by the car seat manufacturer. 

Some manufacturers allow forward-facing as early as one year and a minimum weight of 22 pounds, while others state children to be at least two years old before forward-facing. 

Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children remain rear-facing until they reach their convertible car seat’s height and weight limits. 

Most convertible car seats can accommodate children up to 40 pounds while rear-facing, which is approximately the weight of an average four-year-old child.

Arkansas Forward-facing Car Seat Law

Like the law on rear-facing car seats, Arkansas law does not explicitly address forward-facing car seats

Ideally, children who meet the height and weight requirements specified by the car seat manufacturer should be seated in a rear-facing car seat for optimal safety. Once they exceed these limits, they can transition to a forward-facing car seat.

Child Booster Seat Laws in Arkansas

Arkansas law no longer mandates booster seats for children six years or older and weighing at least 60 pounds. 

Experts recommend booster seats until a child properly fits in a regular safety belt. This typically occurs when the child’s height exceeds 4’9″ and their age is at least 8 to 12 years. 

Booster seats should always be securely fastened using a latch or belt system that includes lap and shoulder belts.

Arkansas Law on Front Car Seat

Arkansas law does not explicitly state the minimum age for children to ride in the front seat, but many car manufacturers recommend that kids only ride in the front seat once they reach the age of 13. 

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that children under 13 should ride in the backseat as it is considered safer.

So, if you transport your child in the front seat, ensure they are correctly secured in a car seat, and in the case of a rear-facing car seat, the passenger-side airbag should be deactivated.

Also, when using a forward-facing or booster car seat, it is recommended to position it as far back from the dashboard as possible.

What Happens When You Don’t Comply with Arkansas Car Seat Laws 

Failure to comply with Arkansas car seat laws can result in penalties and fines. Specifically, not correctly restraining a child following the car seat laws can lead to a $25 and a maximum of $100 ticket. 

However, it’s crucial to remember that the consequences of not complying with car seat laws go beyond financial penalties. 

The main reason for these laws is to ensure the safety and protection of children while traveling in motor vehicles. Not following the established guidelines puts the child at a high risk of injury or harm in the event of a car accident.

Exemptions to Arkansas Car Seat Laws 

Under Arkansas’s Child Passenger Protection Act, certain exemptions exist where a child may be excluded from adhering to the regulations. 

One exemption applies when a child is being transported in a vehicle designated as an emergency vehicle. Additionally, if a child has a medical condition that prevents the use of a safety seat certified by a physician, they may be exempted. 

Furthermore, if a child has a disability and a physician certifies that using safety seats is not suitable, they can also be exempted based on the certified disability.

Also, commercial vehicles, like taxis and other for-hire vehicles, are not obligated to comply with the car seat laws established by the state of Arkansas. 

Tips for Car Child Safety

Here are some tips for ensuring car child safety:

1. Install The Car Seat Properly

Ensure the seat is installed correctly and the child is securely fastened. To achieve this, you must;

  • Avoid fastening the seatbelt over thick winter coats. Replace the car seat every six years. 
  • Replace the car seat every six years if damaged, even if it has never been involved in a crash.
  • Be cautious when purchasing a second-hand car seat.
  • Ensure proper installation of rear-facing seats. Infants should have a 45-degree incline, while older babies can have a 30-degree incline.

2. Use Rear-Facing As Long As Possible

Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for a long time. This position provides better protection for their head, neck, and spine. Most children are ready to switch to forward-facing seats around three.

3. Supervise Children

Never leave children alone in a vehicle, even briefly. Heatstroke can occur quickly, and children are more susceptible to extreme temperatures.

4. Maintain Car Seats

Inspect them regularly to ensure they are in good condition and have yet to be recalled. Follow the recommended expiration dates for the seats.

5. Front Seat Age And Weight Limit

Children at least 13 years old, weigh at least 80 pounds and are 4’9″ tall can safely ride in the front seat of a vehicle.

6. Forward-Facing Car Seats

Once children transition to forward-facing seats, they should continue using them until they reach the height and weight limits specified by the seat manufacturer.

7. Booster Seats

Children should transition to booster seats When they outgrow their forward-facing car seats. Some children may need to use booster seats until they are around 12 years old.


As parents and caregivers, it is our utmost responsibility to prioritize the safety of children when traveling in vehicles. 

Arkansas car seat laws, updated in 2023, have been designed to provide specific guidelines for properly using child restraint systems and seat placement. 

By following these laws, we can significantly reduce the risk of injuries and ensure the well-being of our young passengers. 

It is crucial to understand the age requirements, weight limits, and appropriate types of car seats for each child. 

Additionally, staying updated with any revisions to the laws and consulting manufacturer instructions are vital steps in ensuring compliance and maximizing child safety. 


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