What Are The Most Recent Tennessee Car Seat Laws?

In Tennessee, there are laws governing car seat usage for children. Here, we will provide an overview of the current Tennessee car seat laws and how they have been updated for 2023.By understanding these rules and guidelines, you can help ensure your child’s safety while on the road.

TN Rear-Facing Car Seat Law

Tennessee Car Seat Laws

  • Age Requirement: Children under the age of 1 must be placed in a rear-facing car seat.
  • Weight Requirement: Children should remain in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the weight limit specified by the car seat manufacturer. In Tennessee, the weight limit is typically 20-35 pounds, depending on the specific car seat.

TN Forward-Facing Car Seat Law

The forward-facing car seat law in Tennessee states that children who are at least 1 year old and weigh between 20 and 40 pounds should be secured in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.

TN Booster Seat Law

  • Age Requirement: Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a booster seat.
  • Height Requirement: Children must be at least 4 feet 9 inches tall to be exempt from the booster seat requirement.
  • Weight Requirement: There is no specific weight requirement mentioned in the Tennessee law for booster seat usage.

Front Seat Car Seat Law in TN

The specific requirements for child restraint systems vary depending on the child’s age and size. children under the age of 9 must be secured in an appropriate child restraint system (car seat or booster seat) based on their age, weight, and height.

Seat Belt Car Seat Law in TN

  • Front Seat Occupants: All drivers and front-seat passengers, regardless of age, are required to wear seat belts.
  • Rear Seat Occupants: In Tennessee, passengers aged 16 and older in the rear seats are not legally required to wear seat belts. However, it is highly recommended for safety.
  • Child Restraint Laws: Children under the age of 9 must be secured in an appropriate child restraint system (car seat or booster seat) based on their age, weight, and height. Rear-facing car seats must be used for children under the age of 1 and weighing less than 20 pounds.

Taxi Car Seat Law in TN

  • Infants and Toddlers: For infants and toddlers, it is safest to use a rear-facing car seat in a taxi or rideshare vehicle, following the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation.
  • Young Children: For young children who have outgrown rear-facing seats, a forward-facing car seat or booster seat should be used according to their age, height, and weight. Ensure the car seat is installed and secured correctly.
  • Seat Belts: If a car seat is not available or feasible to use in a taxi or rideshare, children should be secured in a seat belt appropriate for their size. The seat belt should be properly adjusted and fit snugly across the child’s lap and shoulder.

Leaving Child in Car Law in Tennessee

Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-15-401 states that it is unlawful to leave a child under the age of 7 unattended in a motor vehicle if the conditions present a risk to the child’s health or safety.

Exceptions to Tennessee Child Car Seat Laws

In general, some common exceptions to child car seat laws that may exist in various jurisdictions include:

  • Medical Exemptions: Some states provide exemptions for children with specific medical conditions that make the use of car seats or restraints impractical or unsafe. A medical professional’s documentation may be required to qualify for such exemptions.
  • School Transportation: There may be specific rules or guidelines for children riding in school buses or other forms of organized transportation, which may differ from standard car seat laws.
  • Taxis and Rideshares: Some jurisdictions may have specific regulations or exemptions for child restraint use in taxis or rideshare vehicles. However, it’s generally recommended to use appropriate car seats or restraints whenever possible for the safety of children.

Fines for Violating Tennessee Car Seat Laws

In general, violations of child car seat laws can result in fines and potential court fees. The specific amount of the fine can vary depending on factors such as the severity of the violation and the number of previous offenses.

Upcoming Changes To Tennessee Car Seat Law

Tennessee car seat rules have not been revised in 19 years, and they are no longer consistent with our current understanding of kid passenger safety.

As a result, many children are at risk of being injured or killed in car accidents. Tennessee must make reforms to emphasize the safety of our youngest passengers.

Where can I get my booster seat checked or installed in Tennessee?

To get your booster seat checked or installed in Tennessee, you can consider the following options:

  • Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO): The THSO provides information and resources related to child passenger safety. They often organize events where certified technicians are available to check and assist with car seat installations. Visit the THSO website (https://www.tntrafficsafety.org/) or contact them directly for upcoming events and locations.
  • Local Law Enforcement Agencies: Many local police departments and sheriff’s offices have certified technicians who can check your booster seat installation. Contact your local law enforcement agency to inquire about their availability and schedule an appointment if necessary.
  • Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs): CPSTs are professionals specifically trained in car seat safety. They can provide guidance, installation assistance, and ensure that your booster seat is properly secured. Safe Kids Worldwide maintains a directory of CPSTs by state. You can search for a CPST near you on their website (https://cert.safekids.org/).
  • Child Passenger Safety Seat Fitting Stations: Some hospitals, fire stations, or community organizations have designated fitting stations where you can get your booster seat checked or installed. Check with local hospitals, fire departments, or community centers to see if they offer this service.

Remember to call ahead and confirm the availability of services and appointments, as the options and availability may vary depending on your location within Tennessee.


When Can My Child Sit in the Front Seat in Tennessee?

it is generally recommended to keep children in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.

Are There Any Changes To Tennessee Car Seat Law 2023?

Car seat laws can change over time, and it’s important to consult the most up-to-date information from official sources such as the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security or your local law enforcement agency to ensure compliance with the current car seat laws in Tennessee.

What are the height and weight requirements for booster seats in Tennessee?

A booster seat is needed when a child’s car seat is outgrown but still too small for an adult seat belt. Under Tennessee law, children must use a booster seat until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall or weigh at least 80 pounds. While some kids may be taller than this before reaching 80 pounds, it’s important to meet the two biggest requirements of safety.
Additionally, children under the age of 13 should always ride in the back seat of the vehicle. This helps reduce the risk of injury from air bags and other hazards in the event of an accident.

Is it illegal to smoke in a car with kids in Tennessee?

Tennessee’s car seat laws are updated in 2023 to make it illegal to smoke in Tennessee vehicles with children. From 1 January 2023, it will be illegal for anyone to smoke tobacco products in a car while driving with a child under 14.

Do booster seats work?

Booster seats are effective. Elevates your child’s seating position to help them better fit an adult-sized seat belt. This ensures that the belt fits snugly around the hips rather than the belly, reducing the risk of internal injuries in an accident.
A booster seat can also provide much-needed support for a child’s head and neck during sudden braking or impact.

When can a child use a booster seat?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children who cannot use a forward-facing car seat will need to use a booster seat until they are old enough to wear an adult seat belt. This usually happens between the ages of 8 and 12, depending on the child’s height and weight.

When can a child stop using a booster seat?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should continue to use a booster seat until they reach a height of 4 feet 9 inches (57 inches) and are between the ages of 8-12.
At this height and age, most children can properly buckle up in a vehicle without the additional support of a booster seat.

When did booster seats become mandatory?

On February 27, 2012, booster seats became mandatory in the United States. It’s a landmark day for child safety advocates and parents. Before this date, laws regarding child car seat requirements vary by state.


In conclusion, Tennessee’s updated car seat laws for 2023 are no joke. It’s important to make sure your child is properly secured and protected while riding in a vehicle. Remember to follow the guidelines based on your child’s age, height, and weight. And if you’re ever unsure, just ask a professional or refer to the Tennessee Department of Safety website.