Massachusetts’s Child Safety Seat and Seatbelt Laws

Massachusetts’s car seat laws and the penalties of a violation.

Massachusetts requires all motor vehicle drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts. And additional rules apply to children under eight years old. These children generally must use a child safety seat or booster seat appropriate to their age, weight, and height. Here are some guidelines for choosing a seat and an outline of the penalties for violating Massachusetts’s child safety seat laws.

Child Seats

All Massachusetts children under eight years old must be properly secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint. Generally, the proper restraint will be a booster seat or front- or rear-facing harness system. Massachusetts has issued the following suggestions in choosing a seat, but all seats should be used as per manufacturer recommendations.

Birth

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13+

Rear-facing

Forward-facing

Booster

Seatbelt

Children who are at least 57 inches tall generally are not required to use a child passenger restraint but still must use a seatbelt.

Violations

Failure to wear a seatbelt or to properly restrain a child under eight years old will result in a $25 fine. If the passenger is at least 12 but less than 16 years old, an additional $25 fine will be assessed.

Exceptions

The seatbelt and car seat requirements apply to all private passenger vehicles, vanpool vehicles, and trucks made after 1966. Exceptions exist for taxi services, emergency services, rural postmen, buses, and tractors. Additionally, physicians can issue medical exemptions by certifying that use of a restraint is unsafe for a specific person.

More Information and Resources

For more information about child restraint systems, check the recommendations of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It’s also a good idea to register your car seat to be notified regarding recalls.

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