The Rhode Island Department of Health Services requires children to be properly restrained in child safety seats in all cars when traveling. This law was implemented to reduce the number of child injuries, fatalities, and severe injuries that occur as a result of improperly secured child safety seats. Here’s what you need to know about Rhode Island’s car seat law and how it can help keep your family safe.
- Rhode Island Car Seat Laws
- Rhode Island Infant/Toddler Car Seat Law
- Rhode Island Rear-facing Car Seat Law
- Rhode Island Forward-facing Car Seat Law
- Rhode Island booster seat law for young kids
- Requirements for children to use the front seat in Rhode Island
- Taxi Car Seat Law in Rhode Island
- Rhode Island car seat replacement law after Accident
- Law on leaving a child in a car in Rhode Island
- Penalties For Violating Rhode Island Car Seat Laws
- How old do you have to be to sit in the front seat in Rhode Island?
- Is it Illegal to Smoke in a Car with a Child in Rhode Island?
- Car Seat Inspections Help in Rhode Island
- Child passenger safety-related videos Rhode Island
- More information and resources on car seat safety Rhode Island
- USA Child Passenger Safety Laws by State
Rhode Island Car Seat Laws
According to the child restraint law of Rhode Island,
Any person transporting a child under the age of eight (8), less than fifty-seven inches (57”) in height and less than eighty pounds (80 lbs.), in a motor vehicle operated on the roadways, streets or highways of this state, shall transport the child in any rear seating position of the motor vehicle properly restrained in a child restraint system approved by the United States Department of Transportation per R.I.G.L. § 31-22-22(a)(1).
Rhode Island Infant/Toddler Car Seat Law
All infants and toddlers under the age of 12 months who weigh less than 30 pounds must travel in a rear-facing car seat or infant-only seat.
Rhode Island Rear-facing Car Seat Law
Infants and toddlers under the age of two years or weighing less than 30 pounds must be restrained in a rear-facing seat under Rhode Island law. According to the majority of experts, rear-facing is the safest position for young children.
Rhode Island Forward-facing Car Seat Law
All children 2 years of age or older who have outgrown their rear-facing seat’s weight and height limits must ride in forward-facing seats equipped with a harness until they outgrow the manufacturer’s maximum limits.
Rhode Island booster seat law for young kids
Children under the age of eight years must be restrained in a suitable child restraint device in the rear seat unless they are 4’9″ tall and weigh 80 pounds. This means that children who have outgrown forward-facing chairs may ride in booster seats until they reach the age of eight or reach the weight of 80 pounds and height of 4’9″.
There are 2 types of booster seats:
• High-back booster seats – If your car’s seat back is lower than your child’s ears, you have to use a high-back booster seat to protect your child’s head and neck.
• Backless booster seats – If your car’s seat back is higher than your child’s ears, you can use a backless booster seat.
Requirements for children to use the front seat in Rhode Island
All child restraint devices must be placed in the rear sitting position, as required by law. This means that children who are old enough to use lap-shoulder belts only may lawfully sit in the front seat. However, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that children ride in the back seat until they reach the age of 13. This is because the passenger-side airbags in the front seats, which are designed for adults, can hurt kids when they inflate. Additionally, the back seat is generally safer than the front seat due to its distance from the point of impact in the event of a frontal collision.
If you are confused about whether your child should use a booster seat or an adult seat belt only, this simple test will help you decide.
The Five-Step Seat Belt Fit Test:
- Is the child able to sit all of the way back against the auto seat?
- Are the child’s knees able to bend comfortably at the edge of the vehicle seat?
- Is the belt crossing over the shoulder between the neck and arm?
- Is the lap belt as low as possible, with the thighs?
- Is it possible for the child to remain in this position the whole journey?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, your kid is not ready for an adult seat belt and still requires a booster seat to travel safely in the car. Boosters are popular with kids since they are more comfortable!
Taxi Car Seat Law in Rhode Island
It’s not clear in the law if taxis have to follow child safety rules. It’s important to keep in mind that most laws are just the starting point. Every time you go somewhere, you should make sure your child is safe. Taxis are the same.
Rhode Island car seat replacement law after Accident
There is no law in Rhode Island that addresses car seat replacement. However, “NHTSA recommends that car seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers. Car seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash.”
Law on leaving a child in a car in Rhode Island
You can be convicted if you leave an unsupervised child under the age of 12 in a car for an extended period of time that poses a significant risk to his or her safety or health. It is never advisable to leave a child alone in a car for an extended period of time.
There are many dangers that can happen if you leave your child unattended in a car. The most obvious danger is that your child will get into hot temperatures and be dehydrated. Another danger would be that there may be toxic substances left by other people in the car, such as gas or drugs.
Finally, it’s important to remember that your vehicle can become hot enough to cause severe burns on your child’s skin if left for long periods of time.
Penalties For Violating Rhode Island Car Seat Laws
A child under the age of eight is fined for breaking the law. You will have to go to court and pay $85.00 unless you show proof to the police department that you bought a federally approved child restraint system in the seven days after the ticket was given to you. There will be no record of a conviction on your driving record. A violation involving a child between the ages of eight and seventeen will cost you $85.00, but there will be no record of it on your driving record.
How old do you have to be to sit in the front seat in Rhode Island?
All child restraint devices must be placed in the rear sitting position, as required by law. This means that children can legally sit in the front seat after they reach the age of 8 or 80 lbs. and 4’9″ in height and can only utilize lap-shoulder belts. However, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that children ride in the back seat until they reach the age of 13.
This is because the passenger-side airbags in the front seats, which are designed for adults, can hurt kids when they inflate. Additionally, the back seat is often safer than the front seat due to its distance from the point of impact in the event of a frontal collision.
Is it Illegal to Smoke in a Car with a Child in Rhode Island?
There are no rules prohibiting smoking in a vehicle with children. When there are minors around, we do not recommend smoking in the vehicle. Secondhand smoke is dangerous, and it’s best to avoid smoking in a vehicle with a kid sitting inside. Secondhand smoke exposure causes a variety of illnesses in children, including asthma and pneumonia, as well as thousands of preventable hospitalizations. Secondhand smoke causes SIDS and can cause lung cancer and heart attacks if exposed over time.
Car Seat Inspections Help in Rhode Island
- Central Falls Police Department Child Passenger Safety
- CPS Technician Search: Find a CPS Technician
- List of Rhode Island Car Seat Installation Locations
- Middletown Police Department Child Safety Seat Installation
- NHTSA car seat inspection Center
- North Kingstown Occupant Safety and Child Restraint Program
- Portsmouth Child Safety Seat
- Smithfield Car Seat Installation Clinics
- Tiverton Police Department Child Safety Seat Installation
- West Warwick Child Restraint and Seat Belt Safety
- Westerly Child Seat Installations
Child passenger safety-related videos Rhode Island
Car seat check: An easy guide
How to secure your car seat
Installing a Rear-facing Car Safety Seat
Car Seat Safety: Front-facing Install & Child Placement
More information and resources on car seat safety Rhode Island
- American Academy of Pediatrics Car Seat Recommendations
- American Automobile Association Car Seat Guide
- Bans on Smoking in Vehicles Carrying Children
- Booster Seat Guide
- Car Seat Safety Guidelines – Lifespan
- CDC Child Passenger Safety
- Is it illegal to leave a child in the car?
- NHTSA Car Seat Recommendations
- Safe Kids Worldwide Ultimate car Seat guide
- State Police Car Seat Recommendations
USA Child Passenger Safety Laws by State
FIND YOUR STATE’S CAR SEAT LAWS
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