Nevada car seat safety should be a priority for every parent. While on the road, a car seat is an essential accessory. Car seats keep children not only safe but also significantly reduce the risk of a potentially fatal injury.
Types of Child Automobile Restraints
Always make sure the children are properly buckled in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt–whichever is appropriate for their weight, height, and age.
- Use a rear-facing car seat from birth until ages 2–4.
- After outgrowing the rear-facing car seat, use a forward-facing car seat until at least age 5.
- After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat, use a booster seat until seat belts fit correctly.
- Once seat belts fit properly without a booster seat, use a seat belt on every trip.
When using the rear-facing or the forward-facing car seat, the children must be buckled in the back seat until they reach their car seat’s upper weight or height limit. It’s recommended to check the car seat manual and labels on the car seat for weight and height limits. (CDC)
Car Seat Requirements in Nevada
NRS 484B.157 is the Nevada traffic law requiring child restraint seats. It states that drivers must secure children passengers in an approved child restraint system if they are up to five years old and weigh up to 60 pounds. The term child restraint system comprises car seats, booster seats, and seat belts (safety belts). (Las Vegas Defense Group)
Nevada law exempts children from traveling in child safety seats when using public transportation such as taxis, school buses, and emergency vehicles. It also exempts using a child safety seat if it is impractical or harmful for a child due to their medical or physical condition. A signed statement from the child’s physician or advanced practice registered nurse must be kept in the vehicle with the driver in such cases.
Transition to Seat Belts
Parents can switch to using seat belts when children are big enough for the seat belt to fit them properly.
A seat belt is considered to fit correctly when
- The lap belt lies across the upper thigh and not the stomach
- The shoulder belt lies across the chest and not the neck
Usually, the proper seat belt fit occurs when children are around 9 to 12 years old and are about 4 feet 9 inches tall.
It’s possible that seat belt fit can vary by vehicle, so it’s advisable to check the fit in all cars.
In Nevada, a first-time offense of failing to secure a child passenger properly is a misdemeanor. It carries:
- $100 to $500 in fines ($205 in the City of Las Vegas), or
- 10 to 50 hours of community service.
However, if the defendant completes a child restraint system training class within 60 days of the sentencing, a judge will waive these requirements.
It’s important to remember that with each subsequent conviction of the NRS 484B.157, the penalties for violation get harsher.
Dangers of Incorrect Car Seat Installation
According to the Nevada DMV, seven of ten child safety seats are installed improperly. Click here for traffic and child safety tips.
If the car seat is installed loosely or it is angled incorrectly, the child and the seat could fly forward in a crash. This could also happen if the child is not strapped tightly enough in the car seat, as the loose harness will not protect the child.
When using a car seat, it is essential to make sure it is correctly installed. Parents must follow the specific instructions for the child’s car seat correctly to get the fit right.
The Awful Truth
For 2016 specifically, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows 37,461 people were killed in 34,436 motor vehicle crashes, an average of 102 per day. About 2,000 children under 16 die every year in traffic collisions. (Wikipedia 2018) The numbers have gone up each year since then.
Just like seat belts, child car seats protect children and save lives too. It’s not enough for adults to buckle up, but it is also essential to take all the right steps to keep children protected. A child car seat is a critical component of travel for your child’s safety and well-being.
CDC. “Child Passenger Safety.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Dec. 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/child-passenger-safety/index.html.
Las Vegas Defense Group. “Nevada Car Seat Laws – Age and Weight Requirements.” Shouse Law Group, 8 Nov. 2020, www.shouselaw.com/nv/defense/laws/car-seats/#:~:text=Nevada%20car%20seat%20laws%20require,moving%20on%20to%20booster%20seats.
“List of Motor Vehicle Deaths in U.S. by Year.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 6 Feb. 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year.