Car Seat Laws in Massachusetts (2022) – What Parents Need to Know

According to Massachusetts State Law, children under the age of 8 should ride in a child restraint system until they reach 57 inches in height in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction.

The law also requires children who are between 8 to 13 years of age to use a seat belt as long as they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches.

What Are The Car Seat Requrements in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts Legislature Section 7AA reads: "A passenger in a motor vehicle on any way who is under the age of 8 shall be fastened and secured by a child passenger restraint, unless such passenger measures more than 57 inches in height. The child passenger restraint shall be properly fastened and secured according to the manufacturer's instructions." "A passenger in a motor vehicle on any way that is under the age of 13 shall wear a safety belt which is properly adjusted and fastened according to the manufacturer's instructions."

Massachusetts State Law

Massachusetts Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

The Massachusetts law does not say anything referring to the rear-facing car seat, just requires children ages 7 and younger and less than 57 inches tall to ride in a child safety seat.

As the MA law does not mention the requirements on rear-facing, most infant car seats on the market will satisfy your need. This type of car seat will travel a newborn from the hospital until they are 12 or 18 months old.

For example, the Doona Infant and Stroller would be the best option for infant car seats for facing the rear.

Safety tips:

  • Never put a rear-facing car seat in the forward-facing position or in front of an active airbag.
  • The seat must be tightly secured using the vehicle lap belt or anchored using the LATCH System.
  • Do not install the car seat in both ways, but choose one that you think is much easier. 

Massachusetts Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

Massachusetts State Law does not talk about when to use a forward-facing car seat either.

But the Mass Executive Office of Public Safety and Security suggests that parents use a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether once the child outgrows the upper weight or height limit of their rear-facing car seats. 

This department also recommends using the rear-facing car seat as long as possible because it’s a safer option for infants and small toddlers.

Safety tips:

  • A 5-point harness is still the best for protecting toddlers and preschoolers at this age and weight range.
  • Parents should stick with the current staged seats for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.

Child Booster Seat Laws in Massachusetts

Children under 8 years old and measuring less than 57 inches tall should be fastened and secured in a child passenger restraint according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The child restraint system can be a booster if the child is 4 years or older and weighs more than 40 pounds.

This 40-pound weight requirement is not mentioned in the Mass car seat law. It comes from an explanation of the answers in the document from the Massachusetts Office of Public Safety and Security (MOPSS in short).

However, you should always stick to the forward-facing car seat for as long as the child reaches the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer. 

Most forward-facing car seats allow a child to stay in the harness for up to 65 pounds. That generally happens at age 5-6.

How about backless booster seat age in Massachusetts?

The law does not differ between the high back and backless booster. So the minimum age requirement of a backless booster should be the same 4 years old. 

Safety tips:

  • This is the only statement in the Massachusetts Law on a car seat. It’s assumed that 8 years of age is legal to get out of a booster seat and start to wear a seat belt for security.

Seat Belt Laws for Massachusetts

According to the MA law, seat belts are required for children under 13 years old

The child can get out of a booster seat after they outgrow the seat and when the seat belt fits them properly. 

How do you know if your child is ready to use the vehicle seat belt?

Check if your child meets the below standards: 

  • Sit with their back and hips against the car seat back and sit without slouching.
  • Bend their knees easily over the front edge of the seat and keep their feet flat on the floor.
  • Safely wear the seat belt – Lap belt low and snug across the hips, shoulder belt across mid-chest and shoulder.
  • Use the properly adjusted vehicle head restraint.
  • Remain in this position for the entire ride.

Safety tips:

  • The Lap and Shoulder Seat Belts are good for children for optimal protection. 

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Massachusetts

Not following the child restraint law in Massachusetts is punishable by $25.

Massachusetts Car Seat Laws Apply for

Every person transporting a child shall be responsible for assuring that each child is properly restrained pursuant to the Massachusetts car seat laws, no matter whether you are a resident or traveler.

Exceptions

The provisions shall not apply to taxis, and

(1) riding as a passenger in a school bus;

(2) riding as a passenger in a motor vehicle made before July first, nineteen hundred and sixty-six, that is not equipped with safety belts;

(3) physically unable to use either a conventional child passenger restraint or a child restraint specifically designed for children with special needs;

What height and weight to sit in front seat in massachusetts

Massachusetts car seat laws do not say the requirements on age, weight, or height for a child to sit in the front seat.

It’s recommended to follow the advice to put your child in the front seat after they have grown to 13 years old

Taxi Car Seat Law in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is 1 of 35 US states that exempt taxis from child restraint system laws. According to the law:

“However, that said twenty-five dollar fine shall not apply to an operator of a motor vehicle licensed as a taxi cab not equipped with a child passenger restraint device.”

The taxi driver won’t be fined for not providing the child passenger with a car seat.

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in Massachusetts Law

Age and height are the most common two criteria in Massachusetts car seat law.

It just requires children under 8 years of age and 57 inches in height to need a child safety seat, and big kids under 13 years old to be secured with a seat belt. No more requirements on age, weight and height, and stage.

Best Car Seats to Work with Massachusetts Laws

Massachusetts does not require too much to follow the car seat laws, which are not strict on age and size requirements. That means you can always use an appropriate car seat for your child along with their growth

Rear-Facing Car Seat for Infants and Small Toddlers

Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller

Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller Combo

More than this Doona car seat and stroller combo, there are a few excellent options available for riding infants in rear-facing. But not all will perform as well as it to allow 1-year-old infants to face the back for this long time, Chicco KeyFit 30 for example, features a low 30-lb weight limit that might not go through the first year. 

Forward-Facing for Big Toddlers and Preschoolers

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit

This convertible car seat is great enough to meet the Alabama parent’s need to ride their kids in the rear- and front-facing for a longer time. It features 50-lb rear-facing weight limit to be one of the best rear-facing car seats for 2 years old.

When using it facing front, the 65-lb weight limit makes it go through the preschool ages – 3 years old, 4 years old, and 5 years old.

Booster Seats for Big Kids

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

$24.99*

The Graco TurboBooster is the most popular and best budget car seat to meet the Alabama State Law to ride older children, six or seven years old, or even bigger. While six years of age is relatively younger than other states’ eight years of age requirement, it’s sooner for Alabama children to get rid of a car seat.

But for parents in Alabama, you may keep your kid in a car seat as long as possible for safety’s sake.

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