Child Seat Information

Sgt. Crosby is the department’s certified child safety seat technician. To schedule an appointment to install a car seat, call the department Monday through Friday between the hours of 6:00am to 6:00pm. Leave your name and phone number with the dispatch officer and Sgt. Crosby will contact you to schedule an appointment.

Laws and Regulations

The following Massachusetts laws pertain to vehicular safety such as the safety belt law, and laws on child passenger safety, bicycle helmets, and licenses for minors. This section contains a summary of the laws. However, the laws can be viewed in full detail by clicking on the links provided below.

Massachusetts Safety Belt Law (MGL Ch 90, Sec. 13A)

  • Summary: This law requires that any driver or passenger, age 12 and older, wear a seat belt in any motor vehicle, whether in the front or back seat of a car.   
  • Penalties: Fine: $25 each for the driver and any passengers over age 16. The driver must also pay $25 for each passenger under age 16.   
  • Note: For safety reasons, anyone using the vehicle safety belt should place the shoulder strap across the chest, not under the arm or behind the back.  

Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Law (MGL Ch 90, Sec. 7AA; Ch 90, Sec. 13A)

  • Summary: This law is designed to protect the safety of child passengers under the age of 12.  
  • When riding in motor vehicles, infants and small children must ride in a federally approved child passenger restraint until they are at least 5 years old and weigh more than 40 pounds.  
  • Children who weigh more than 40 pounds but are under 5 years old must ride in a booster seat.  
  • Children ages 5 to 12 who weigh more than 40 pounds must use either a booster seat or a safety belt.   
  • The Child Passenger Safety Law applies to children riding in:   all types of privately owned vehicles  vehicles for hire, including taxicabs   

The law does not apply to: Children riding in school buses children riding in a vehicle made before July 1, 1966 that does not have safety belts, children physically unable to use either a conventional car seat or a child restraint specifically designed for children with special needs.   

Penalties: Drivers are fined $25 for each unrestrained child. Exception: Taxi drivers are not fined for children riding unrestrained in a taxicab.  

Note: Inability to use a child restraint must be certified in writing by a physician. This is a primary enforcement law, which means that a police officer may stop your car if one or more children are riding unrestrained. No other reason is needed.  

Massachusetts Bicycle Helmet Safety Law for Minors (MGL Ch. 85, Sec. 11 B)

  • Summary: Any child 16 years of age or younger operating or riding as a passenger on bicycle, scooter, in-line skates, skateboard or other manually propelled vehicle on a public way, bike path or on any other public right-of-way must wear an approved helmet.   
  • Notes: Children under one year old must not be transported on a bicycle.  
  • The helmet law does not apply to child passengers in an enclosed trailer.  
  • Person violating this law may have their bicycle, scooter, skateboard or in-line skates impounded for up to 15 days

Child Passenger Safety Recommendations

  • The Massachusetts Law requires children to ride in child passenger restraints until they are 5 years old  and  weigh 40 pounds.
  • Always follow manufacturers’ instructions when installing a child safety seat.  
  • Infants up to 20 pounds and one year old should ride in a rear-facing child safety seat.
  • Children in rear-facing child safety seats should never be placed in the front seat of vehicles with a passenger-side air bag. An inflating air bag striking a rear-facing child safety seat can result in death or severe injury.
  • Children who weigh more than 20 pounds and who are one year of age or older may ride in a forward-facing child safety seat.
  •  Children between 40 and 80 pounds, and less than 4’9’’ tall, should ride in a booster seat. A booster seat helps the seat belt to fit correctly and safely and gives children more comfort and visibility.
  • Children 12 years old and under should sit in the rear seat whenever possible to reduce their risk of death and serious injury.