New Mexico Car Seat Laws (2022) – Age, Weight, Height Requirements

According to the New Mexico State Law, children 6 years old or younger or less than 60 pounds should be secured in a child safety seat.

A booster seat is required for a child aged 7 to 12 until the seat belt can fit them properly.

What is the car seat law in New Mexico?

New Mexico Legislature Laws in section 66-7-369 subsections A on child passenger restraint read: "A person shall not operate a passenger car, van or pickup truck in this state, except for an authorized emergency vehicle, public transportation or a school bus, unless all passengers [less than eighteen years of age] are properly restrained."

New Mexico State Law

New Mexico Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

New Mexico law in section 66-7-369 subsections B (1) says that infants under 12 months old must ride in a rear-facing car seat.

It’s best to keep the littles facing the rear for as long as they reach the weight or height limit of their car seats.

According to the rules in the same section, the rear-facing seat needs to be installed in the back seat.

If the vehicle does not have a back seat or is occupied by other children under the age of 1, the child may ride in the front seat of the vehicle unless the airbag is deactivated.

New Mexico Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

According to the regulations in section 66-7-369 subsections B (2), a child should be secured in a child restraining system, when they meet the below age or weight requirements:

  1. Age through 1 and 4 years old, regardless of weight
  2. Weighing less than 40 pounds, regardless of age

No rear-facing or forward-facing requirements, no car seat type requirements.

For this kind of case, the best practice is to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible until they outgrow the rear-facing car seat, then switch to a forward-facing car seat.

Child Booster Seat Laws in New Mexico

New Mexico indicates the rules on booster seats in section 66-7-369 subsections B (3):

  1. Age through 5 and 6 years old, regardless of weight
  2. Less than 60 pounds in weight, regardless of age

The law says that parents can choose a child booster seat or car seat that fits their child in size and age.

It’s best to keep your child in a forward-facing car seat for as long as possible until he or she outgrows the highest height or weight set by the manufacturer, then move to a booster seat.

Booster seats must be used with both lap and shoulder belts. Booster seats cannot be used with a lap belt alone.

Children should ride in booster seats until the vehicle seat belt fits correctly.

Seat Belt Laws for Child in New Mexico

According to the regulation in section 66-7-369 subsections B (4), children aged between 7 to 12 are required to use a seat belt or a booster seat.

But it’s always a good idea to keep using the booster seat as long as possible within the weight or height limit.

How do you know if your child is ready to use the seat belt or not?

  • The lap belt properly fits across the child’s thighs and hips and not the abdomen.
  • The shoulder strap shall cross the center of the child’s chest and not the neck.
  • The child to sit all the way back against the vehicle seat with knees bent over the seat edge.

The above listed are advanced tips for parents to check. 

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in New Mexico

Violators who do not obey the New Mexico laws will receive a fine of up to $25 for the first offense.

New Mexico Car Seat Laws Apply for

The driver is responsible for making sure the child’s safe in an operating motor vehicle.

The rule in 66-7-369 subsections A tells the exceptional cases:

  • An authorized emergency vehicle,
  • Public transportation
  • School buses
  • For medical reasons

When can a child sit in the front seat in New Mexico?

At what age can a child sit in the front seat in New Mexico?

There is no age mentioned in the New Mexico law. However, we can follow the expert advice and best practices from AAP and NHTSA- the back seat is the safest for children under 12 years of age. You can place them in the front seat since they are 13 years old.

Taxi Car Seat Law in New Mexico

New Mexico doesn’t have clear rules on whether taxis are required to follow car seat laws.

Suppose taxicab is not included in public transportation, it’s required to follow the New Mexico regulations on child restraining devices and systems.

Leaving a child unattend in New Mexico

According to the rule in section 66-7-375, it breaks the law to leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle.

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in New Mexico Law

The New Mexico laws have a specific age, weight, and height requirements for four stages:
Rear-facing (stage 1): under 1 year of age
Forward-facing (stage 2): age 1 to 4 years old, less than 40 pounds
Booster ( stage 3): 5-6 years old, less than 60 pounds
Seat belt (stage 4): 7-17 years of age

Best Car Seats to Work with New Mexico Laws

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 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 State Law to ride older children, six or seven years old, or even bigger.

Sources

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