Car Seat Laws in Boston
Boston parents must ensure they keep their children properly restrained in acceptable car seats while traveling to protect them from car accidents. Every state upholds specific standards for appropriate car seat use, age, and size restrictions for different types of car seats, and most states even offer free car seat installation services and public safety training courses. If you have children in Boston, it is essential to follow the local Boston car seat laws updated for 2019 pertaining to child car seats every time you travel by your children in the car. Learn more about from our Boston personal injury attorney.
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Appropriate Seat Types
Massachusetts state law does not make any specific stipulations for rear-facing car seats, but these seats are the safest option for very young children. The first step in finding the right car seat for your child is to find one that fits his or her size. An infant should always ride in a rear-facing car seat secured to the center of the back seat. Infants in car seats should never ride in the front seat of any vehicle. Ideally, a child should remain in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible, until he or she is too tall to sit safely in a rear-facing seat.
Massachusetts state laws require children to remain in car seats until they are eight years old or grow more than 57 inches in height. Once a child outgrows a rear-facing car seat, the parents should switch to a front-facing car seat with a five-point harness. Ideally, the car seat should attach to the car seat hooks built into the vehicle and not simply secured with a seatbelt. If you purchase a car seat, follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions carefully and refer to your area’s public resources if you need assistance installing a car seat in your vehicle.
Once a child is too tall for a forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness, he or she may ride in a booster seat that uses the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt. Once the child reaches the age of eight or grows taller than 57 inches, he or she can ride with the standard vehicle seatbelt as long as it fits appropriately. The shoulder strap should rest across the shoulder and chest, not the neck, and the lap belt should fit across the top of the legs, not across the belly.
Potential Consequences of Poor Car Seat Use
Massachusetts may not have very strict car seat laws, and a first offense of the car seat law comes with a minimum fine of only $25. However, all parents must understand the severe risks that accompany the failure to install appropriate car seats for their children. If a child is too small for a regular seatbelt without a booster seat, he or she could suffer serious injuries in an accident within out. Similarly, a small child who is too big for a rear-facing seat may also sustain catastrophic injuries depending on how an accident occurs and the direction of impact.
What Injuries Can Be Caused?
Car accidents can cause bone fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and various other serious injuries, some of which result in permanent disabilities. Children are smaller and more vulnerable to traumatic injuries, and children riding in inappropriately sized, poorly installed, or defective car seats face a much greater risk of sustaining such injuries.
If you have children in Boston, take time to find a car seat that fits your child appropriately and meets all state requirements. Check online reviews and crash data if available to see how a car seat stacks up in terms of reliability and safety rating. Additionally, taking advantage of free car seat installation services and free driver safety courses can also help protect you and your family from serious personal injuries.