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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Child Passenger Safety

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office maintains two certified technicians who have national certification to assist in installing child safety seats. The technicians attend a four day, eight hour per day class which prepares them for certification. Each technician must perform car seat inspections after certification to be qualified to teach parents and caregivers how to make their children safer. After initial certification, the Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technician must be re-certified every two years, which requires several continuing education classes and documentation of activity.

Safe Kids Douglas County is a coalition of local agencies and volunteers dedicated to injury prevention among children. The coalition has two events monthly at local car dealerships and other events to assist in installing child safety seats.  The coalition provides car seats to those that cannot afford them for free, although a donation is requested.

To become a certified child passenger safety technician either for your agency or to work with the Safe Kids Coalition as a volunteer, contact Safe Kids Douglas County at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, 785-505-3067.

The Law

Kansas law requires children less than 18 years of age be properly restrained no matter where they are seated in the vehicle. Children through age 3 must be secured in a separate carrier (child safety seat) or in a vehicle manufacturer's integrated child safety seat.

For children under the age of 1: For the best possible protection keep the infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds.

For children ages 1, 2, and 3: When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at a minimum age 1 and at least 20 pounds) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat.

For children ages 4, 5, 6, and 7: Are required to ride in a booster seat unless: the child weighs more than 80 pounds, or the child is taller than 4 feet nine inches, or only a lap belt is available. Children who meet the above height and weight criteria must be protected by a seatbelt.

Children ages 8 and up:
Are required to be protected by a seat belt.

Infants must ride rear-facing until they are at least one (1) year old and weigh 20 pounds or more. The coalition recommends that children stay rear-facing until they reach the weight limit of the car seat or 35 pounds as the child is safer. Rear-facing, the infant, should be semi-upright at an angle of no more than 45 degrees. A forward-facing older child should ride sitting upright. We recommend that all children age 13 years of age and younger ride in the rear seat. Never place a child in the front seat of a vehicle equipped with a passenger air bag.

The Kansas Department of Transportation provides the following Child Passenger Safety Act (KSA 8-1344) information:

Primary law (enacted 1981; undated 2006):

  1. Requires all children under the age of four (4) to be buckled into an approved child safety seat.
  2. Children, ages 4 through 7 must be buckled into an approved booster seat unless the child weighs more than 80 pounds or is taller than 4'9" in height, at which point the child is buckled in as an adult would be.
  3. Children ages 8 through 13 must be buckled in.
  4. This law applies to all vehicles designed for carrying 10 passengers or less. (Conviction carries a $60 fine plus court costs.)

(Not part of KSA 8-1344) Persons under the age of 14 are prohibited from riding in any portion of the vehicle not intended for passengers; this includes riding in the back of pickup trucks. (Fine is $20 plus court costs and is a traffic infraction.)

Amended Kansas Safety Belt Use Act - KSA 8-2503, Subsection (b)

Primary law (enacted 2007):

  1. Requires that each occupant who is at least 14-17 years of age must be buckled in.
  2. This is a primary violation. Each occupant in violation is to be individually cited and fined.
  3. The fine for each violation is $60 (with no court costs).