Motor vehicle crashes are among the leading causes of death for children ages 3 to 14 years old. A minor crash or even a sudden stop can seriously injure a child who is not riding in the right type of child safety seat.
You can reduce the risk by having your child always ride in a properly fastened and secured safety seat.
When is a child big enough to wear an adult safety belt?
- Tall enough to sit without slouching, by Massachusetts law over 57"
- Shoulder belt rests comfortably across the shoulder and chest, not the neck or throat
- Lap belt fits securely, low and snug on hips
- Sits with back and buttocks against seat
- Knees completely bend over edge of seat
- Feet are flat on the floor
- Stays comfortably seated
Summary - Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety Law (as of 07/10/08)
- Children must be in a federally approved child passenger restraint that is properly fastened and secured until they are 8 years old OR over 57" tall.
- The operator of the motor vehicle in which a child age 12 or under is not properly restrained shall be subject to a fine of $25
- A police officer can stop your vehicle if a child age 12 or under is not properly restrained.
Use this chart as a general guide to what safety seat your child should ride in. See seat and vehicle manufacturers' instructions for detail:
Type of Seat
Infants - Birth to a minimum of 1 year
|Infant seat or rear-facing convertible|
Toddlers - 1 to 3 years
|Remain in rear-facing car seat until he/she reaches top height/weight limit of seat's manufacturer. Once child outgrows the rear facing seat, he/she is ready to travel in a forward-facing seat with harness|
Young Children - 4 to 7 years
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he/she reaches the top height/weight limit allowed by seat's manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing seat, a booster seat in the back seat of car is the next step.
Child - 8 to 12 years
|Mass. Law requires your child be secured in a federally approved booster seat until 8 years old or 57 inches tall. At that time he/she is ready for an adult safety belt. The safest place for a child is in the back seat of a vehicle.|
- Children 12 and under should always ride in the back seat. Follow vehicle manufacturers' warnings about seating of children near airbags.
- IMPORTANT: Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an airbag.
- Never place a shoulder belt behind the back or under the arm.
- Set a good example - 70% of children whose parents do not buckle up will not buckle up when they become adults. Wear your safety belt every time! Massachusetts law requires everyone to be properly restrained.
- Any loose object in a vehicle can become a projectile in a crash. Use a trunk or cargo area to properly store loose items.
- Learn to properly use your child's safety seat by reviewing the seat and vehicle manufacturer's instruction. If you still need assistance,you can find a Child Passenger Safety Technician online, call 1-877-392-5956 or TTY 617-725-0261.
Residents are urged to make appointments with our departments child passenger safety technician. Officer Perry can be reached by email.