Massachusetts Car Seat Laws in 2021

In Massachusetts law, a child under eight years old and measuring 57” in height or less must be properly fastened and secured by a child passenger restraint according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A child between the ages of eight and twelve years old or measuring more than 57” in height must wear a safety belt which is properly adjusted and fastened in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. A child between the ages of thirteen and seventeen years old must wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt.

Babies and Children Up to Seven Years Old

A child up to seven years old who is a passenger in a motor vehicle must be properly fastened and secured by a child passenger restraint according to the manufacturer’s instructions unless the child measures more than 57” in height.

Rear-facing infant car seats and convertible car seats are examples of child passenger restraint systems. 

Children Eight to Twelve Years Old

A child between the ages of eight and twelve years old or measuring more than 57” in height must wear a safety belt which is properly adjusted and fastened in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Children Thirteen to Seventeen Years Old

A child between the ages of thirteen and seventeen years old must wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt when riding in a private passenger motor vehicle, vanpool vehicle, or truck under eighteen thousand pounds.

Penalties for Violations

You may be fined up to $30.00 for a violation of Massachusetts’ child passenger restraints law. A violation is not considered to be a moving violation for the purpose of determining motor vehicle premium surcharges. If you receive a citation for a violation, you may contest the citation.

Exemptions

Your child may be exempt from Massachusetts’ child passenger restraints law if your child is riding as a passenger in a school bus.

Your child may be exempt from Massachusetts’ child passenger restraints law if your child is riding as a passenger in a motor vehicle manufactured before July 1, 1966 and that motor vehicle is not equipped with safety belts.

Your child may be exempt from Massachusetts’ child passenger restraints law if a physician provides written certification that your child is not physically able to use either a conventional child passenger restraint or a child restraint designed specifically for children with special needs, describes your child’s disability, and explains the reasons why such child restraints are not appropriate for your child.

The operator of a motor vehicle may be exempt from Massachusetts’ child passenger restraints law if your child is being transported in a motor vehicle licensed as a taxi cab which is not equipped with a child passenger restraint device. However, children must be restrained in accordance with passenger restraint law while being transported in a taxi.

Your child may be exempt from Massachusetts’s seat belt law if your child is riding in a motor vehicle manufactured before July 1, 1966.

Your child may be exempt from Massachusetts’ seat belt law if your child is physically unable to use a safety belt and a physician provides written certification of your child’s handicap and the reasons why the use of a seat belt is not appropriate for your child.

* Ms. Blake is licensed in the state of Maryland. The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Attorney Denise A. Blake*

Denise practices family law at Blake Law, LLC in Westminster, Maryland. She holds a Juris Doctor with an emphasis in Family Law from the University of Baltimore School of Law.