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Kentucky Car Seat Laws You Need To Know (2021)

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When you’re planning a family trip to Kentucky, it’s important that you make sure to follow local (or exceed) the child passenger safety laws.

Official Kentucky Car Seat Laws

You can find the official Kentucky car seat law in KRS 189.125.


Kentucky Rear-Facing Car Seat Law

Kentucky does not specify how long children must be rear facing. At a minimum, parents are required to follow the guidelines set forth by the manufacturer of their specific car seat (referred to as “proper use”).

Some manufacturers permit children to forward face as young as 1 year as long as they weigh at least 22 pounds, while other manufacturers require toddlers to be at least 2 years old to forward face.

Rear-facing is significantly safer for children as it dramatically decreases the risk of head and neck injuries. This resource is full of great information.

The current guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics is that children should remain rear-facing to the limits of their convertible car seat. Nearly all convertible car seats today will accommodate kids up to 40 pounds (they have variable height limits so read your manual) – the size of an average 4 year old – rear facing.

Though it’s not specified by the law, research indicates that kids should continue riding in a harnessed car seat (whether rear-facing or forward-facing) until at least age 5, 40 pounds and mature enough to sit properly for the whole drive.

KY car seat law requires that children ride in a harness car seat until at least 40″ tall.


Kentucky Booster Seat Law

Kentucky requires children to ride in a car seat or booster seat until they reach 4’9″ or 8 years old. Children are not permitted to ride in a booster seat in Kentucky until they are at least 40″ tall. Be sure to follow manufacturer minimum and maximum size requirements for your booster seat – most manufacturers now require a minimum of 4 years old, 40″ tall and 40 pounds.

Most children do not fit properly in an adults seatbelt until 10-12 years old, when they pass the 5-step test.


When Can Kids Ride In the Front Seat In Kentucky?

There’s no law in Kentucky on when kids can ride in the front seat, but many car manufacturers specify that kids should not ride in the front until age 13. Here’s an excellent explanation of why.


Upcoming Changes To Kentucky Car Seat Law

There are no pending changes to Kentucky car seat law as of this writing.

Get the latest from Kentucky Transportation Cabinet


If you’ll be flying to Kentucky, be sure to bring one of these travel car seats. If you’re planning a family road trip, consider one of these comfortable convertible car seats or comfortable booster seats. Check more car seat laws by state as you plan your route.

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