Child Passenger Safety

Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. But many of these deaths are preventable.

Each year in Massachusetts, an average of 3 children ages 7 years and younger die as passengers in motor vehicle crashes. In addition, Massachusetts children ages 7 years and younger are treated for about 2,100 nonfatal injuries from motor vehicle crashes each year in Massachusetts hospitals.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts Child Passenger Law

In Massachusetts, any child under the age of 8 and less than 57 inches tall must be in a car seat or booster seat when in a moving vehicle.

Prevention/Best Practices

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following evidence–based intervention: Car seat laws along with car seat distribution plus education programs.

The combination of these approaches increase restraint use and decrease injuries and deaths to child passengers.

The type of car seat needed depends on several factors, such as age, size, and developmental needs. Use your child’s height and weight to pick the right safety seat. Each seat is different. Check the manufacturer instructions for exact height and weight limits:

  • Infant seats are generally up to 20 pounds and rear facing.
  • Toddler convertible seat are generally 20–40 pounds. Keep rear-facing as along as possible (check the guidance listed on the seat).
  • Booster seats are generally 40–80 pounds and forward facing.

Child Passenger Safety Resources

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