Ask The Advocate: Front seat or back seat?

QUESTION: I’m having a 7-year-old grandson visiting and am trying to find out if he can ride in the front seat of a car. The only law I can find is if a car has a side air bag, kids have to ride in back seat. Otherwise they can ride in the front seat. I thought it was safer for kids to ride in the back seat.

ANSWER: Answer provided by Trooper First Class Jared L. Sandifer, a State Police spokesman:

A 7-year-old child weighing at least 60 pounds can ride legally in the front or the back seats, though State Police would prefer that any child under 13 ride in the back whenever possible.

If your child is 6 or younger and weighs less than 60 pounds, the situation can get trickier, since Louisiana child seat rules might apply, according to guidelines published on the Louisiana State Police website at LSP.org/pdf/child_passenger_seat.pdf. Those range from a rear-facing infant seat to a belt-positioning booster seat for a 4-year-old.

Although restraining a child improperly could get you a citation, troopers would much rather explain how to correct the child seat than issue a driver a citation.

If you aren’t sure about your child’s safety seat, State Police conducts free child safety seat inspections every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at State Police Troop A, 17801 Highland Road. No appointment is necessary.

Many caretakers don’t realize that they will usually need multiple seats as a child grows older.

Many also fasten the seats into the car improperly.

The important thing to remember is that regular seat belts are designed for adults, so without the right kind of car seat, the risk of harm to a child during an accident magnifies.

Sign hidden by branches

QUESTION: Why is the sign at the Interstate 10 East exit ramp at Essen Lane that shows to stay in your lane at this intersection placed behind tree branches almost beyond the intersection?

ANSWER: Answer provided by Dustin Annison, public information officer for the state Department of Transportation and Development:

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. A DOTD maintenance crew visited this location and trimmed the vegetation to improve the sign’s visibility.

Send questions to Ask The Advocate, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-0588; or fax to Ask The Advocate, (225) 388-0371; or email asktheadvocate@theadvocate.com.