Massachusetts Car Seat Laws 2020: How to Be a Responsible Parent?

If you live in Massachusetts and you're wondering what the Massachusetts car seat laws in the state are, you've come to the right place.

We get how confusing the legislative language can get. Hence we read the official laws for you and derive the crucial points every parent should know.

In the following text, you can find all the information on how long you should keep your child in a car seat and the right time for the change from one type of car seat to another.

In addition to the official laws, we prepared some extra tips and tricks that will help you keep your kiddo safe at all times!

Enjoy!

The Official Massachusetts Car Seat Law

massachusetts booster seat laws 2020

According to the official Massachusetts Car Seat Law, all children, passengers in a car, must be properly restrained and secured in a federally approved passenger restraint system until they are eight years old. More importantly, taller than fifty-seven inches.

Furthermore, the car seat has to be correctly installed, and the child appropriately fastened following the manufacturer's instructions.

Infant Car Seat Law in Massachusetts

On the Massachusetts government's official page, the readers are redirected to the official NHTSA page for further recommendations about selecting car seats. 

Therefore, since the law requires federally approved seats, we will refer to each state's official guidance in the child restraining process.

Rear-facing Infant-only and convertible car seats must be used from birth to at least twelve months. However, the NHTSA recommends using rear-facing car seats up to three years, or until your child's weight surpasses the manufacturer's limit.

Forward-facing Car Seat Law in Massachusetts

Once your child is older than twelve months, you can officially restrain him/her in a forward-facing car seat.

However, NHTSA once again suggests to put off the forward-facing seat until your kid is three years old, or too big for the rear-facing restraint system. If your child's weight and height allow it, you should keep the kid in this car seat until he/she is seven.

Booster Seats Law in Massachusetts 

massachusetts car seat laws rear-facing

Officially, you can place your son or daughter in a booster seat as soon as they turn four or weigh more than forty pounds.

According to Massachusetts car seat law, you have to keep him/her in a booster seat until the age of eight. Yet, the NHTSA recommends the use of booster seats up to the age of twelve.

Seat Belt Law in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Seat Belt Law requires every person in a motor vehicle to wear a safety belt, including kids older than eight years. Before the age of eight, they have to be secured in a safety restraint system.

The Penalties

If your traffic behavior does not comply with the Massachusetts Car Seat Law and Seat Belt Law requirements, you can be charged $25 for violation.

When Can My Child Sit In The Front Seat?

The Massachusetts Law advises parents to keep their kids in the back seat until they are at least thirteen.

The Exceptions

massachusetts car seat laws front seat

The Massachusetts Child Passenger Law does not refer to children passengers in a school bus, a vehicle made before the July first, 1966 that does not have safety belts or taxi cab. 

Additionally, children who are physically unable to sit a child restraint system correctly are not required to do so If the parent provides the medical documentation confirming their disability.

How to Use a Car Seat in Winter?

The Massachusetts Government advises parents not to secure their children in car seats with winter coats.

As they instruct, winter coats interfere with the harness system, preventing you from fastening the belts securely, resulting in an unsafely secured restraint system. Instead, you can preheat your car, cover your child with a blanket once you safely secure him/her in a car seat.

For additional information on the winter use of car seats, you can refer to this useful video:

How to Install Different Car Seats?

The Massachusetts government advises parents to refer to the manufacturer's instructions for correct selection and installment of the child restraint systems. It also redirects the readers to NHTSA's page to find useful videos on installing car seats effortlessly.

Or, you can also check out this youtube video with instructions on how to install all stages car seats:

Inspection Sites

As the Massachusetts government denotes on their page, car crashes are the leading cause of all children's death. Additionally, improperly installed car seats only contribute to these statistics. Therefore, it is of critical importance to make sure you installed the car seat correctly.

Inspection sites or fitting stations are places where you can have your car seat checked for free by Child Passenger Safety Technicians. The government in Massachusetts has a widely developed network of these stations, and their addresses you can find on the map demonstrated here

Or using the lists of locations:

Also, the government organizes the check-up events, where you can also get your car seat inspected. You can find the dates and additional information on these events here.

Child Passenger Safety Trainings

massachusetts car seat laws 2020

What is more, in Massachusetts, they genuinely care about children's safety and, therefore, organize courses to learn about child passenger safety and become a certified CPS technician.

These training pieces are arranged by Baystate Children's Hospital, so more information about it; you can be found if you contact Mandi Summers, on this email mandi.summers@baystatehealth.org.

Finally, Massachusetts' government strongly advises parents to register tier car seats and frequently search for the recalls to stay informed on all the changes and updates on car seat laws. You can register your car here

What is the Massachusetts Government's Stand on Second-hand Car Seats?

If you plan to use a second-hand car seat, the government suggests doing extensive research on the seat's background.

You should check whether the car seat has been in any sort of crash or accident, check the recalls, the expiration date, and If all the parts are still on the seat. 

Car seats that have been in a car during an accident should not be reused for maximum safety.

Can I Place the Rear-facing Child Restraint System in the Front Seat of a Pickup Truck?

According to Massachusetts car seat law, you can install the rear-facing car seat in the front seat of a pickup truck, ONLY, if you can manually turn off the airbag.

If this is not possible, by no means install the car seat in front, because it is extremely dangerous.

Final Thoughts

From all I have seen, the Massachusetts car seat laws are very strict and similar to other states. It is very instructional that they have included a bunch of tips and answered the most frequent dilemmas about car seats on their page as well.

The CPS training program should be included as a positive practice in all the states; therefore, Massachusetts should be praised for their high involvement in the promotion of the children's safety.

Follow the official regulations and always keep your child safe in traffic, as car crashes can prove fatal for them.

Kathy Warner

Kathy is a busy mother of two and a CPS technician for more than eight years. Her mission is to awaken parents to the importance of child passenger safety and show them the right practice. You can read more about her here