Belchertown Citizens Resources: Child Safety Seats

Child Safety in Motor Vehicles


Are you and your child passengers properly restrained while driving?

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children ages 3 to 14 in the United States. An average of 5 children age 14 and younger were killed and 568 injured in motor vehicle crashes each day across the United States in 2005. Even a sudden stop can seriously injure a child who is not riding securely in the right type of child safety seat.

State and local police and others involved in child passenger safety (CPS) work continuously to educate parents and caregivers on how to safely transport children in motor vehicles. They are also ready to enforce the Massachusetts CPS Law if necessary to protect children. In 2006 Massachusetts drivers were issued 1,060 CPS Law violations for unrestrained children.

Please be aware that the Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety Law was strengthened with new booster seat requirements on July 10, 2008

In Massachusetts all children must be in a federally approved child passenger restraint that is properly fastened and secured until they are 8 years old OR over 57″ tall.

Tips for “best practices” when driving with children as passengers:

  • Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, choose a seat that fits in your vehicle, and use it every time.1
  • Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions (check height and weight limits) and read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or lower anchors and a tether, if available.2
  • To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.3
  • Children 12 and younger should never sit in the front seat. The safest seating position is in the back seat, away from air bags if possible.
  • Children 13 years of age or older should ride in the front seat, but should position their seat as far back as possible from the air bag.
  • Always wear your lap and shoulder belt when driving — it protects you in case of a crash and it sets a good example for children.

Check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Guide for Child Seats!   If you have any questions or need help installing a child safety or booster seat please call the Belchertown Police Department, (413) 323-6685 to schedule an appointment. We have several officers trained to properly install them. 



[1,2,3 Information taken directly from the NHTSA’s Car Seat Recommendation for Children.]