Child passenger safety is paramount in a motor vehicle. Children are more susceptible than adults to serious and deadly injuries in automobile accidents. To offer the best possible protection from injuries in a motor vehicle accident, Nebraska requires parents and drivers to use the correct types of car seats for young children. Obeying Nebraska’s car seat laws is critical for your child’s safety.
What Are Nebraska’s Child Safety Seat Requirements?
By law in Nebraska, all children in a moving vehicle must be restrained with the correct child safety system at all times. Although Nebraska is a secondary enforcement state, meaning that a police officer must have another reason besides a broken seat belt law to make a stop, you could still get into legal trouble for failing to properly restrain a child passenger. Breaking the law can also put your child in danger. The following are Nebraska’s car seat laws as of 2022:
- Infants under the age of two must be seated in rear-facing car seats. A rear-facing seat with a five-point harness provides the best support for a baby’s head, neck, and spinal cord.
- An infant approaching the age of two that has exceeded the height or weight requirement of a rear-facing seat can transition to a front-facing car seat early. Otherwise, the transition should take place after the child turns two.
- When a child reaches 4’9” in height, he or she can transition from a front-facing car seat to a booster seat. A booster seat lifts a small child to the correct height to use a seat belt.
- Children under the age of eight must be seated in the rear of a vehicle, not the front seat or cargo area.
- Once a child is tall enough for a standard seat belt to fit properly over the chest and lap, the child can discontinue the use of a booster seat.
- All motor vehicle passengers, regardless of age, should wear seat belts when the vehicle is in motion.
Parents, guardians, motor vehicle operators, and daycare providers in Nebraska must all obey these child safety seat laws when traveling, even for short distances. There are exceptions, however, for a taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers, as well as for school buses. If you are unsure of how to correctly install a car seat in your vehicle, there are free inspection stations available throughout Nebraska.
What Are the Penalties for Not Using a Car Seat in Nebraska?
Breaking Nebraska’s car seat laws by having an unsecured child in your vehicle or using the incorrect safety seat can result in a fine of $25 and one point being added to your driving record. In Nebraska, if you accumulate 12 points in a two-year period, you will have your driver’s license revoked.
If you get into a car accident while your child is unlawfully unrestrained, you could also face legal trouble, such as criminal charges for reckless endangerment. Your financial recovery for your child’s injuries will also be reduced if you contributed to these injuries by failing to use a car seat.
Safety Tips for Car Seats
Following Nebraska’s car seat laws can keep your child as safe as possible while traveling in a motor vehicle. For optimal safety, use the following tips:
- Do not use an old, outdated, or used car seat. Car seats lose their integrity over time. The plastic can become brittle from sitting in the sun, or a car accident could damage the seat. If you cannot afford to purchase a new car seat, financial assistance is available.
- Thoroughly read the owner’s manual and manufacturer’s instructions for installing, using, and replacing a child safety seat. Do not put your child in a seat that is not suited for his or her height or weight.
- Keep your child in a rear-facing seat as long as his or her weight and height allow. Transitioning a child to a forward-facing seat too soon can put him or her in danger.
If you get into a car accident in Omaha with your child in the vehicle, contact an Omaha car accident attorney from The Knowles Law Firm for a free consultation about your options for financial recovery.