One of the leading risks for children four years old and over is getting hurt in an auto accident. Unfortunately, over 5,000 children die each year in the U.S. in car crashes, and thousands more are injured or hospitalized. Although not a perfect solution, using child car seats properly can significantly reduce the risk of harm to children riding in cars. It was a no brainer that states made car seats mandatory by law. Nevada is no exception. Let’s learn more about Nevada Car Seat Laws.
What Are Nevada’s Car Seat Laws?
In Nevada, if your children are under six years old and less than 60 pounds, they must be secured in a car seat or booster seat while traveling in a car. It is the responsibility of the driver to make sure that the car seat is the appropriate size for the child and used properly. The car seat also must meet federal requirements and be approved by the Department of Transportation. The laws apply any time a child rides in a motor vehicle that’s equipped to carry passengers.
Front-Facing versus Rear-Facing Car Seats
It is strongly recommended that a rear-facing car seat is used until the child is 12 months old at a bare minimum. However, the Nevada law does not specify whether the car seat must be front-facing or rear-facing. The only requirement is that the car seat must fit the child appropriately.
This is because of babies’ heads being relatively larger than their bodies and their spines are still in early development. While a baby is facing forward, a car rash creates a severe risk of stretching the spinal cord, causing serious injury. A rear-facing car seat greatly reduces this risk.
For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a rear-facing car seat until the age of two. And, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration suggests using a rear-facing seat through age three.
What Kind of Car Seat Does My Child Need in Nevada?
The exact kind of car seat that you need for your child depends on the child’s height and weight. According to Safe Kids Clark County, you should follow these guidelines:
- Age 0-3: Rear-facing car seat; a child should continue to use a rear-facing car seat until they reach the maximum weight set by the manufacturer for the car seat.
- Age 4-6: Forward-facing car seat; use a forward-facing car seat until the child reaches the maximum weight and height limit; The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends a forward-facing car seat through age six.
- Ages 7-11: Your child should use a booster seat until they reach 4’9” tall. However, Nevada doesn’t require it. The lap belt should fit snugly across the upper thighs. The shoulder belt should cover the child’s chest and upper body and should not cross the face.
- All children under 13: Children under 13 should ride in the back seat of the vehicle. The back seat is best even if the child is in a car seat or a booster seat.
- All children under 16: Children under 16 must wear a seat belt no matter where they sit in the vehicle.
What are the Penalties for Violating Nevada’s Car Seat Laws?
The penalty for failing to properly secure your child in a car seat is a fine of up to $500 and up to 50 hours of community service for the first offense. For repeat violations, the fine can go up to $1,000. And, up to 100 hours of community service may be required. If you were to receive three or more citations for car seat violations in Nevada, the state could suspend your driver’s license from 30 to 180 days.
In Nevada, failing to abide by the car seat law is not a moving violation, and therefore will not result in demerit points.
Nevada Car Seat Fine Waiver
If you are guilty of a car seat violation there’s a way of waiving your fines. You can complete training and inspection. The court may give you a list of approved Department of Public Safety inspectors for car seats. You have 60 days from the date of sentencing to complete the requirements and show proof of completion to the court.
If you complete the training and inspection, the court must waive your fine and community service for a first offense. For a second offense, they can cut your fine and community service in half. You can only get one waiver in your lifetime for a Nevada car seat training and inspection.
The Department of Public Safety can charge for their programs, but the charges must be reasonable.
Is a Nevada Car Seat Violation Negligence?
The quick answer is no. A car seat violation in Nevada is not automatically negligence or recklessness. Actually, the Nevada car seat law states that a car seat violation may not be considered negligence in a civil action. So if your child gets hurt in an accident, the other side can’t use it against you.
Instead, your child may recover fully for their damages whatever they might be even if their injuries could have been reduced if they had been secured in the right car seat. Nevada law enforcement can’t charge you with negligence or reckless driving under Nevada law 484B.653 fi you make a car seat violation.
But, there are exceptions to Nevada’s car seat laws. They don’t apply to children in public transportation, for example, a school bus. They also don’t apply when a child rides in an emergency vehicle. If a driver carries a doctor’s statement that it’s impractical for a child to wear a seatbelt because of the child’s weight, fitness, or another medical condition, they are exempt from Nevada’s car seat laws.
My Child Was Injured In An Accident, How Do the Car Seat Laws Affect Us?
If your child was injured in a car accident, you may be able to sue the responsible party on your child’s behalf. Although the extent of your child’s injuries may be worsened if they were not properly secured in a car seat, this should not affect your ability to receive compensation for your child’s injuries.
Nevada does not penalize children who were injured because they were not placed in a car seat. In fact, the state’s car seat law states that a violation cannot be considered evidence of negligence or reckless driving. This means the failure to properly utilize a car seat cannot be held against you. Nor reduce the amount of money you obtain on your child’s behalf in a lawsuit.
If you are successful in suing on behalf of your child, you can be reimbursed for all medical costs related to the accident. As well as compensation for anticipated future treatment.
Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys at Cogburn Law
Our experienced legal team has represented hundreds of clients injured in car accidents, including children. We understand your number one priority after an accident involving your child is to take care of their health and wellbeing.