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Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for young children.  A minor crash or even a sudden stop can seriously injure a child who is not riding in the correct type of child safety seat.

75% of child safety seats are installed incorrectly.  In an effort to make it more convenient for parents and to ensure that children are safe and properly restrained, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security has set-up Child Safety Seat Inspection Sites throughout the state. Drivers can ensure their seat is installed correctly free of charge by visiting one of the many conveniently located sites.  The Rehoboth Police Department is one of the sites listed.  For other locations please visit:  www.mass.gov/childsafetyseats or call the toll-free Child Passenger Safety Hotline at 1-877-392-5956.

Summary of Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety Law

Infants and small children must sit in federally approved child passenger restraints until they…

  1. Are at least eight years old or
  2. At least fifty-seven inches tall

The operator of a motor vehicle in which a child age 12 or under is not properly restrained shall be subject to a fine of $25.00.

The child restraint must have a sticker that says it meets the necessary standards (U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213 or the standards in 49 C.F.R. 571.213). The restraint must be permanently attached to a motor vehicle or attached by a safety belt or an attachment system.

 

Other Tips: 

  • Children 12 and under should always ride in the back seat. Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s warnings about seating children near airbags.
  • IMPORTANT: Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an airbag.
  • Never place a shoulder belt behind the child’s back or under the arm.
  • Set a good example – 70% of children whose parents do not buckle up, don’t buckle up when they become adults. Wear your safety belt every time! Remember, Massachusetts law requires everyone to buckle up.
  • Any loose object in a vehicle can become a projectile in a crash.  Use your car’s 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 instructions

 

Use this chart as a general guide to what safety seat your child should ride in. Review the safety seat and vehicle manufacturer’s instructions for specific details.

Age Type of Seat
Infants – Birth to minimum 1 year Infant Seat or rear-facing convertible
Toddlers – 1 to 4 years Remain in rear-facing car seat until he/she reaches top height/weight limit allowed by the 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 – 5 to 7 years Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat until he/she reaches the top height/weight limit allowed by the seat’s manufacturer.  Once your child outgrows the forward-facing seat, a booster seat in the back seat of the car is the next step.
Child – 8 to 12 years Massachusetts 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 the vehicle.

 

When is a child big enough to wear an adult safety belt? 

  1. Tall enough to sit without slouching; by Massachusetts law, this is over 57″.
  2. Shoulder belt rests comfortably across the shoulder and chest, not the neck or throat.
  3. Lap belt fits securely, low and snug on hips.
  4. Sits with back and buttocks against seat.
  5. Knees completely bend over the edge of the seat.
  6. Feet are flat on the floor.
  7. Stays comfortably when seated this way.

Booster seats put children in the proper position to safely use adult safety belts, and are required by law until children are 8 years old OR over 57″ tall.

 

Remember, the best place for all children to be seated/sitting is in the back seat!

If you would like to make an appointment to have your child seat and its proper installation checked by our department’s certified child safety seat technician you may contact Patrolman Craig Warish by email: cwarish@rehobothpd.org   or  call 508-252-3722 ext.1156