Alabama Car Seat Laws (2022) -Rear- or Forward-facing, or Booster

According to Alabama State Law, children under six years old should ride in a size-appropriate restraint system in compliance with the United States Department of Transportation Standards and according to the specifications listed by the safety seat manufacturers.

Alabama Child Passenger Restraints Requirements

Alabama State Legislature in Section 32-5-222 (a) reads: "Every person transporting a child in a motor vehicle operated on the roadways, streets, or highways of this state, shall provide for the protection of the child by properly using an aftermarket or integrated child passenger restraint system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards."

Alabama State Regulations

Alabama Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

According to the rules in Section 32-5-222, (b) (1) in Alabama laws, infants and small toddlers below one year of age or under 20 pounds must ride in a rear-facing car seat, including infant-only seats and convertible seats used in the rear-facing position.

Safety tips:

  • Never put a rear-facing car seat in the forward-facing position or in front of an active airbag.
  • Ensure that the harness is snug and that the harness clip is placed at the center of the chest and at the level of the child’s armpits.
  • The seat must be tightly secured using the vehicle lap belt or anchored using the LATCH System.

Alabama Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

The regulation in Section 32-5-222, (b) (2) says that children under five years old or 40 pounds should be restrained in front-facing seats or convertible seats in the forward position.

Safety tips:

  • A 5-point harness is still the best for protecting toddlers and preschoolers at this age and weight range
  • Parents should stick with the current staged seats for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.

Child Booster Seat Laws in Alabama

Children younger than six years of age, according to Alabama car seat laws in Section 32-5-222, (b) (3), are required to stay in booster seats.

Safety tips:

  • The booster seat age in Alabama is six years old, meaning that your kid will be able to get out of a car seat on the sixth birthday.

Seat Belt Laws for Alabama

The law in Section 32-5-222, (b) (4) requires children under 15 years of age to travel with seat belts in the car.

Safety tips:

  • When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use Lap and Shoulder Seat Belts for optimal protection.
  • All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.
  • The lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest.

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Alabama

The rule makes it clear in Section 32-5-222, (d) that the fine for a citation is $25.00

Plus points minus punishment. Any violation of child safety restraint requirements.

First offense – 1 point, the second or subsequent offense – 2 points.

Alabama Car Seat Laws Apply for

According to the rule in Section 32-5-222, (d), the drivers are responsible for assuring that each child is properly restrained pursuant to Alabama State Law, no matter whether you are a resident or traveler.

Exceptions

The provisions shall not apply to taxis and all motor vehicles with a seating capacity of 11 or more passengers, like school buses.

Alabama State Laws Milestones

The car seat laws keep updated for optimal protection to your child. Here are some changes for the previous and current Alabama State Law on child car safety restraints systems.

1982 Car Seat Law through age 3

Every person transporting a child under the age of three years in a motor vehicle shall provide for the protection of the child by properly using a child passenger restraint system meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.

1991 Secondary Seat Belt Law

Each front seat occupant of a passenger car manufactured with safety belts in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 shall have a safety belt properly fastened about his body at all times when the vehicle is in motion. Failure to use safety belts is a secondary offense.

1999 Primary Seat Belt Law

Changed the 1991 Seat Belt Law by making failure to use safety belts a primary offense.

2006 Car Seat Law under the age of 15

Changed the 1989 Car Seat Law by raising the age to children required to use a child passenger restraint system to 15 years.

When can a child legally sit in the front seat in Alabama?

Alabama law doesn’t give a specific age when your child can sit in the front seat.

Based on the experts’ opinions, children after 13 years of age can use car seat belts.

A car seat belt is safe when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest.

After that, your child is ready to sit in the front seat.

Taxi Car Seat Law in Alabama

Alabama is 1 of 35 US states that exempt taxis from child restraint system laws. According to the law:

“Every person transporting a child shall be responsible for assuring that each child is properly restrained pursuant to this section. The provisions shall not apply to taxis and all motor vehicles with a seating capacity of 11 or more passengers.”

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in Alabama Law

Age and weight are the most common two criteria in Alabama State Law.

Rear-facing (stage 1): one-year-old & 20 pounds

Forward-facing (stage 2): five years old & 40 pounds

Booster (stage 3): six years old, no weight requirement for a booster seat

Seat belt (stage 4): 15 years old.

Best Car Seats to Work with Alabama Laws

Alabama car seat laws are comparatively not too strict on age, weight, and height requirements, especially on the rear-facing position. It requires infants below one year old or 20 pounds to ride facing the back. Most car seats can meet this need anyway.

Rear-Facing Car Seat for Infants and Small Toddlers

Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller

Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller Combo

More than this Doona car seat and stroller combo, there are a few excellent options available for riding infants in rear-facing. But not all will perform as well as it to allow 1-year-old infants to face the back for this long time, Chicco KeyFit 30 for example, features a low 30-lb weight limit that might not go through the first year. 

Forward-Facing for Big Toddlers and Preschoolers

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit

This convertible car seat is great enough to meet the Alabama parent’s need to ride their kids in the rear- and front-facing for a longer time. It features 50-lb rear-facing weight limit to be one of the best rear-facing car seats for 2 years old.

When using it facing front, the 65-lb weight limit makes it go through the preschool ages – 3 years old, 4 years old, and 5 years old.

Booster Seats for Big Kids

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

$24.99*

The Graco TurboBooster is the most popular and best budget car seat to meet the Alabama State Law to ride older children, six or seven years old, or even bigger. While six years of age is relatively younger than other states’ eight years of age requirement, it’s sooner for Alabama children to get rid of a car seat.

But for parents in Alabama, you may keep your kid in a car seat as long as possible for safety’s sake.

Sources

On this page