Massachusetts Car Seat Laws
Car seat laws in Massachusetts are implemented in order to keep children and infants safe while a vehicle is in motion. All motor vehicle drivers should be aware of booster seat laws within their state to avoid any unnecessary fines.
For instance, at what age is a booster seat required for a child in Massachusetts? Knowing the answers to these types of questions will be integral to any adult with children in his or her care.
In Massachusetts, it is not enough for a child to simply be fastened within the backseat. Children must be in a federally approved child passenger restraint. There are many factors to include in these laws, such as age of the child and the booster seat weight recommendations. To find this information and more specific to Massachusetts law, continue reading the information below.
What are the car seat laws in Massachusetts?
The Massachusetts car seat requirements are specific to a child’s age or height. For example, in order to adhere to car seat safety laws within the state, a child passenger must be fastened and secured within an approved booster seat or restraint until they are at least eight years old or 57 inches tall.
Once a child outgrows his or her booster seat, usually around the age of eight, or when they grow taller than 57 inches in height, then he or she will be able to wear a seatbelt instead. At this time, Massachusetts law does not have any car seat weight guidelines that must be met, only laws involving age and height.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in Massachusetts
Parents who do not meet the car seat safety guidelines in Massachusetts for their children will be subject to strict penalties. Not meeting the minimum for car seat age or height requirements will result in financial fines for the driver.
Drivers will be fined $25 for every passenger under the age of 16 that is not properly restrained. A police officer has the right to stop any vehicle with children ages 12 and under that are not properly restrained.
Types of Car Seats
Choosing the right convertible car seat in Massachusetts will be dependent on the age of the child. For example, a toddler car seat and child car seat will have different requirements and guidelines. The different types of car seats available per age include:
- Rear facing car seats – these seats are intended for children from birth to one year old or up to 20 pounds in weight.
- Forward facing toddler seats – these seats are made for children ages one to three years old, or between 20 to 40 pounds.
- Booster seats – these seats are intended to fit children ages four to seven years old, or at most 4’9” in height or under.
- Safety belts – any child eight years of age or older, or over 4’9” tall must wear a seat belt as a passenger.
There are so many types of seats available for purchase, it is hard to find which are the best car seats to buy. Many parents also want to know what the safest car seats on the market are, with safety being a top priority in their decision making. A few of the top-rated car seats available, including some of the safest are:
- Aida Explorer booster seat
- Britax Frontier G1 booster seat
- Evenflo Platinum Symphony booster seat
- Chicco GoFit booster seat
- Diono Hip booster seat
- Evenflo Amp booster seat
Car Seat Installation Information
Car seat guidelines in Massachusetts state that a car seat must be installed properly in order to get the full scope of the safety capabilities. Car seat installation is imperative to making sure that a child is safely and securely fastened within the car.
For example, a properly installed booster seat can reduce the risk of non-fatal injuries in a car crash by up to 45 percent among children ages four to eight years old. Some important tips involving car seat installation safety include:
- Before installing a car seat, make sure to thoroughly read through the instructions first. Each car seat will have a different set of installation rules to follow.
- Check the vehicle’s manual. Each vehicle will have its own set of installation guidelines to fit securely.
- The car seat should not move more than an inch from where it is belted in.
- If the car seat moves side to side at all, then you must consider the position of the seatbelt. Find the proper belt path.
- The back seat is always the safest location for installing any seatbelt.
- Make sure the car seat is tightly secured, attached either with the seat belt or lower anchors.
- Rear-facing booster seats should be adjusted to reflect a proper reclining angle.
- Forward-facing car seats usually have an extra strap just for added safety. Make sure to tighten this tether strap in order to prevent head movement for a child within a crash.
Parents and adults who are looking to verify whether or not their child car seat is secured safely after installation can visit any seat inspection location through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA. Visit the NHTSA website to access the location finder.