Vermont Car Seat Laws (2022) -Rules to Secure A Child Properly

According to Vermont Child Passenger Safety Law, children under eight years old should ride in a size-appropriate restraining system including convertible, combination, and booster child safety seats.

What are the Car Seat Laws in Vermont?

Vermont Legislature Title 23 Chapter 013 Sec V.S.A. § 1258 (a) on child restraint system reads: "No person shall operate a motor vehicle, other than a type I school bus, in this State upon a public highway unless every occupant under age 18 is properly restrained in a federally approved child passenger restraining system as defined in 49 C.F.R. § 571.213, as may be amended, or a federally approved safety belt,"

Vermont State Regulations

Vermont Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

According to the rule in Sec V.S.A. § 1258 (a) (1), the Vermont law requires that infants below one year of age or under 20 pounds should be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system in the rear-facing position.

The child restraint system should be federally approved and properly installed following the car seat manufacturer’s instructions.

The rear-facing car seats can’t be installed in the front seat with active airbags. 

Safety tips:

  • Most car seats for 1-year-old work well to follow the Vermont car seat law to ride an infant and small toddlers.
  • Keep riding in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible until the child outgrows their car seats. Infant-only car seats may last for 12 months or 18 months, while convertible car seats allow for up to 2 or 3 years of age.

Vermont Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

When a child grows to one year of age or older but not less than eight years old, according to rule, he or she must be secured in an appropriate car seat system fitting their age and size.

The law does not say requirements on forward-facing car seats.

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicle explains that the system can be installed rear-facing or forward-facing among the three of the car seat types: convertible, combination, and booster,

Safety tips:

  • A 5-point harness is still the best for protecting toddlers and preschoolers, no matter in rear-facing or front-facing position.
  • The child is better to stick with the current staged car seat as long as possible until they approach the maximum height or weight limit allowed by the car seat manufacturers.

Child Booster Seat Laws in Vermont

Vermont law says that children aged 8 up to 15 can travel in a car seat belt or booster seat, whichever fits them better.

If so, it’s better to follow the regulations by NHTSA that use a booster seat until the child reaches the booster’s weight or height limit.

Most boosters feature a weight limit range from 100-120 pounds and a height limit range from 57-63 inches. 

That typically happens around age 10-12.

Safety tips:

  • In Vermont, the booster seat age is at least eight years old, meaning that your kid will be able to get out of a car seat on the eighth birthday. That’s the common rule in most US states.
  • If you’re using a booster seat to ride your child, it’s better to wait until they outgrow the weight or height limits of their car seats, then change to wear a seat belt.

Seat Belt Laws for Vermont

According to Vermont law, children under 17 years should be restrained in a seat belt or child restraint system, whichever fits them the best on age, weight, and height. 

Once your child outgrows their booster seat, you can remove the booster and secure him or her with the vehicle’s seat belt. 

Safety tips:

  • When using a seat belt, always use Lap and Shoulder Seat Belts for optimal protection.
  • When using a booster for big kids, stick to it until the child grows over the maximum weight or height allowed by the car seat. 

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Vermont

Failing to follow the Vermont law causes penalties. The fine is $25.00 for the first offense, $50.00 for the second, and $100.00 for the third offense.

No points will be assessed to the license of the driver.

Vermont Car Seat Laws Apply for

Every person transporting a child shall be responsible for assuring that each child is properly restrained pursuant to Vermont Car Seat Law, no matter whether you are a resident or traveler.

Exceptions

There are three situations mentioned exempt from following the Vermont rules on the child restraint system in part § 1258 (b)

(1) the motor vehicle was manufactured without safety belts; or

(2) the motor vehicle is regularly used to transport passengers for hire, except a motor vehicle owned or operated by a child care facility

(3) the person has been ordered by an enforcement officer, a firefighter, or an authorized civil authority to evacuate persons from a stricken area.

When can a child legally sit in the front seat in Vermont?

Vermont law only requires that you can’t place a rear-facing seat in the front.

There is no age requirement mentioned in the law but experts recommend that you should keep your child in the back seat for as long as they are using a car seat.

They also prescribe the age of 13 for a child to move to the front seat.

Taxi Car Seat Law in Vermont

The car seat usage in a taxi is not mentioned in the Vermont law. But parents should be the ones who are responsible for taking care of the little passenger’s safety.

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in Vermont Car Seat Law

Vermont law is strict on rear-facing position with both age and weight requirements but does not talk too much on forward-facing and booster. It just requires the operators (parents and other caregivers) to use a child restraint system or safety belt system before your child grows to 15 years.

Rear-facing (stage 1): under one-year-old and 20 pounds

Forward-facing (stage 2): between 1-year-old to 8 years old and more than 20 pounds

Booster (stage 3): eight years old, no weight requirement for a booster seat

Seat belt (stage 4): under 15 years old.

Best Car Seats to Work with Vermont Laws

Vermont car seat laws are comparatively not too strict on age, weight, and height requirements, especially on the rear-facing position. It requires infants below one-year-old or 20 pounds to ride facing the back. Most car seats can meet this need anyway.

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 Vermont 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 Vermont 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 Vermont children to get rid of a car seat.

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

References

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