Residents of the State of Massachusetts or newcomers to the state, who are parents or caregivers transporting children, need to be aware of the Massachusetts car seat laws. The fact is that the laws changed as of July 2008.
What Massachusetts Car Seat Laws Stipulate
After July 10, 2008, children up to the age of eight or who are under 4 feet 9 inches must ride in a proper child restraint. The law also stipulates that after children outgrow their child restraint, they must ride in a booster seat secured with a lap and a shoulder belt.
Under Section 2 of the Massachusetts Child Safety Seat Law, the following guidelines are stated:
- Infants, age birth to 1 year, weight up to 20-22 pounds, must ride in an infant seat or rear-facing convertible seat.
- Toddler, aged 1 to 4 years, weight between 20-40 pounds, must ride in a convertible or forward-facing child safety seat.
- Older children, aged 5 to 7 years, and under 4 feet 9 inches, must ride in a belt-positioning booster seat.
Penalties for Violation of the Massachusetts Law
In Massachusetts, violation of the requirement to have children under the age of 13 properly restrained is considered a primary violation. This means that a law enforcement officer does not need to see the driver committing another violation before pulling the vehicle over.
The fine for violating the Massachusetts Child Safety Seat Law is $25. It is not considered a moving violation for insurance purposes.
Where to Find More Information on Child Safety
The Massachusetts.gov web site has greater detail on the Enhanced Child Passenger Safety Law, as well as links to publications on front-facing and infant car seats, selecting, installing, positioning and replacing a child safety seat, and more.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children ages 3 to 14. That’s why it’s important that all children be secured in appropriate child safety seats.
For more information on child safety, which car seats to use, where to find car seat inspection locations, and more, visit the Child Safety section of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) web site. There you can also find information on NHTSA’s car seat ratings, and register your car seat to receive notification of any defects and safety recalls.