Caddo Parish Coroner Dr. Todd Thoma talks with 101.7 / 710 KEEL's Robert J Wright and Erin McCarty about the state's new car-seat and vehicle restraing laws that go into effect on August 1.

Thoma, who is also an emergency physician, also spent two years in the nation's capitol doing a fellowship in traffic safety at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

More details on the new mandates from

"A new Louisiana law that takes effect in August is intended to keep infants and toddlers in rear-facing seats for a longer period of time and require that all children ride in the back seats of vehicles until they are teenagers.

The current law, initially passed in 1984 and updated in 2009, is based on a simple timeline tied to the child's age and weight. The new law considers the height and weight limits of car seats and whether a child can fit into a vehicle's seat properly.

The new law, based on standards adopted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, takes effect Aug. 1 and is intended to put children in car seats designed for individual weights and heights. In general, the guidelines require that:

  • Children under 2 must ride in rear-facing child safety seats;
  • Children ages 2-4 must ride in a forward-facing seat with an internal harness if they have outgrown a rear-facing seat;
  • Children ages 4-9 must ride in a booster seat secured with a lap/shoulder belt; and
  • Children ages 9-12 can ride without a booster seat if their knees bend over the front edge of the seat, their back is against the seat back and the seat belt crosses their chest and not their neck."


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