New Hampshire Car Seat Laws in 2021

In New Hampshire law, a child under seven years old and under 57 inches tall must be properly fastened and secured by a child restraint system complying with United States Department of Transportation safety standards, and a child between the ages of seven and seventeen years old or at least 57 inches tall must wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat or safety belt complying with United States Department of Transportation safety standards, when being carried as a passenger in a motor vehicle on any roadway. A child under the age of eighteen years old must be carried as a passenger in a motor vehicle designed for and equipped with child passenger restraints complying with United States Department of Transportation safety standards on any roadway.

Babies and Children Up to Six Years Old and Under 57 Inches Tall

A child under seven years old and under 57 inches tall must be properly fastened and secured by a child restraint system which complies with United States Department of Transportation safety standards when being carried as a passenger in a motor vehicle on any roadway. The motor vehicle must be designed for and equipped with child passenger restraints which comply with United States Department of Transportation safety standards.

New Hampshire’s child passenger restraints law does not dictate how long your child must ride rear-facing in a child safety seat or at what age your child may use a booster seat instead of a child safety seat. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommend that your child ride rear-facing in a child safety seat as long as he or she possibly can and that your child use a booster seat until he or she reaches 57 inches tall.

Children Seven to Seventeen Years Old or 57 Inches Tall or Taller

A child between the ages of seven and seventeen years old or at least 57 inches tall must wear a seat or safety belt which is properly adjusted and fastened when being carried as a passenger in a motor vehicle or when driving a motor vehicle or autocycle on any roadway. The motor vehicle must be designed for and equipped with child passenger restraints which comply with United States Department of Transportation safety standards.

Penalties for Violations

If you are found not to be in compliance with New Hampshire’s child passenger restraints law, you may be found guilty of a violation and fined $50.00 for a first offense or $100.00 for a second or subsequent offense. You may also be prosecuted for any other offense for which a violation of the child passenger restraints law may constitute an element.

Exemptions

Your child may be exempt from New Hampshire’s child passenger restraints law if he or she is being carried as a passenger in a motor vehicle regularly used to transport passengers for hire, in a school bus weighing more than 10,000 pounds, in a school bus weighing less than 10,000 pounds but manufactured without safety belts, in a vehicle manufactured before 1968, on a motorcycle, or in an antique car or motorcycle.

Your child may be exempt from New Hampshire’s child passenger restraints law if he or she is being carried as a passenger in a parade vehicle travelling at a speed of no more than 10 miles per hour in a parade authorized by law or ordinance.

Your child may be exempt from New Hampshire’s child passenger restraints law if he or she has an individualized education program statement which indicates that the use of restraints is contraindicated for him or her.

* 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.