New Hampshire’s Child Car Seat and Seatbelt Laws

New Hampshire’s child safety seat laws and the penalties of a violation.

All New Hampshire vehicle passengers under the age of 18 are required to wear seatbelts or be secured in an appropriate restraint system. The type of seatbelt or restraint required will vary based on the child's height, weight, and age. This article provides information regarding the requirements, recommendations, and possible penalties related to child safety seat and seatbelt violations in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire's Car Seat, Booster Seat, and Seatbelt Laws

In New Hampshire, the driver is liable for any passenger seatbelt or child restraint violation.

Children under seven years old. A child under seven years old must be properly secured in a child restraint system. Depending on the child's size and age, the proper restraint might be a rear- or forward-facing car seat or a booster seat. A child who's at least 57 inches tall is not required to use a child safety seat, but can instead use a seatbelt.

Children under 18 years old. All passengers under 18 years old must wear a properly adjusted and fastened seatbelt or safety seat. For some children, a belt-positioning device to ensure proper fit might be required.

Types of Car Seats and Child Restraints

The type of restraint a child should use generally depends on the age and size of the child. However, parents and other responsible adults should always follow seat manufacturer guidelines.

Rear-Facing Car Seats

Rear-facing car seats are for infants and smaller children. Generally, it's safest for a child to remain in a rear-facing seat as long as they don't exceed the size recommendations for that seat.

Forward-Facing Car Seats

Once a child outgrows a rear-facing seat, a forward-facing car seat is the next step up. Children should generally keep using the forward-facing seat so long as they're within the manufacturer's recommendations.

Booster Seats

When a child outgrows a forward-facing seat, parents should generally start using a booster seat. Typically, a booster seat is appropriate until the child is big enough for a normal seatbelt to fit properly.

Car Seat and Child Restraint Recommendations

To promote child safety and to help parents choose an appropriate seat, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides restraint system recommendations.

Birth

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13+

Rear-facing

Forward-facing

Booster

Seat Belt

Child Seat and Seatbelt Violation Fines in New Hampshire

A child restraint, booster seat, or seatbelt violation will result in the driver being fined $50. A second or subsequent violation carries a $100 fine. Additional penalties may apply to youth license holders.

Exceptions to New Hampshire's Child Restraint Laws

Certain vehicles, like parade floats and antique vehicles made before 1968 are exempt from the seatbelt laws. Bus drivers and for-hire drivers are also generally exempt from the restrictions.

Register Your Car or Booster Seat

While most car seats are federally approved, it's a good idea to register your car seat to be notified regarding recalls.

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