New Hampshire car seat laws are in place to keep children safe while in a motor vehicle. These laws are in place for children from birth to age 17 to protect against accidents and other issues while riding in a vehicle.
New Hampshire car seat laws require children under six to be in an appropriate child safety seat. Children 7 to 17 may ride without an approved car seat but must use a seat belt. There are no required seating positions.
Compared to many other states, New Hampshire may seem lax in their car seat laws. This allows parents the choice in which seats they want to use based on their child. Children who grow too large for traditional car seats may progress up to other safety measures faster.
Let us take a look at some of the car seat and booster seat laws in New Hampshire. We can then see how to keep our children safe.
New Hampshire Car Seat Laws
New Hampshire has several laws based on the age and the weight of the child. Parents must follow necessary laws concerning their children and keep them restrained in the vehicle.
Rear-Facing Car Seats
New Hampshire’s car seat laws do not list preferences for rear-facing car seats. However, since most infant carriers are designed to face the back, this is something parents should do.
Infant and baby carriers are designed to put the child facing the back. This helps protect their heads and necks with sudden stops and impacts.
Install the base and car seat so that it does not face the front of the vehicle. While the law does not list out requirements for doing this, use common safety precautions. Most infant carriers are rated for children under one year old and less than 20 pounds. Use this as guidance for how long to keep the child rear-facing.
Car Seats Required For Children Under 6
New Hampshire car seat laws require children 6 and under to be properly restrained in a car seat. If your child is less than 57 inches, they should still be in the right child safety seat.
The proper car seat will depend on the age and weight of the child. You may choose to keep your child rear-facing with the right car seat. Or it is possible to pick out another car seat that allows your child to face forward.
Infant and baby carriers recommend the child is rear-facing for the first year. Many carriers can handle heavier weights, up to 35 pounds. This helps you to keep your child rear-facing and safe for longer.
Car seats are designed for older children as well. You can choose one based on the height and weight of your child. Some will be rear-facing, some face forward, and some can be used for both and grow with your child.
As your child grows, you may pick a car seat that fits them and lets them face forward. Follow the weight and height requirements and keep away from an active airbag for safety.
Choose the right car seat based on the age and weight of your child to keep them safe.
New Hampshire Booster Seat Laws
New Hampshire booster seat laws are like the car seat laws. Children who are under 6 years old and 57 inches need to be properly restrained.
The right child safety seat is left to the discretion of the parent. Consider the age and weight limit for the car seat or booster seat you want to use.
You should wait until the child is older before putting them into a booster seat. They must have the control to sit and hold themselves upright.
For a booster seat, pick the right size for your child. Some options have a high-back for younger children to help them adjust. This keeps the seat belt in the proper position too.
Then some options do not include the back. These are reserved for older children. Always lay the seat belt against the lap of your child while in a booster seat. Do not place it against the stomach. Adjust the seat belt to fit properly across the chest.
NH Seat Belt Laws
New Hampshire seat belt laws require children between the ages of 7 to 17 to wear a seat belt. The seat belt must fit comfortably on the lap and around the shoulders of the child.
If your child is smaller than 57 inches, you may want to keep them in a booster seat for safety. Adjust the car seat and seat belt rules based on your children.
In New Hampshire, if your child reaches 57 inches and is younger than 7, you can use a seat belt. Most booster seats will still work if the child is taller so you may continue to use those.
New Hampshire car seat law does not state a preference for seating position for children. Once the child can sit without a booster seat, they are safe to sit in the front. Most infant and young child car seats do not recommend the child sits in the front. Unless the vehicle does not have a back seat, it is safer to keep the child there.
Penalties for Not Following Car Seat Laws
The maximum fine for a first offense of violating car seat laws is $50. The fines and penalties will go up for each subsequent violation of these laws.
New Hampshire has easier car seat laws to follow compared to other states. This makes it easier for parents to follow the laws and choose the safety measures they feel comfortable with.
For better guidance, follow local ordinances as well as recommendations from your chosen car seat manufacturer.
Exceptions to the Car Seat Laws
In New Hampshire, there are four exceptions to the car seat requirement and child restraints. These include:
- The child does not need restraints on a bus or a taxi.
- Restraints are not necessary for vehicles made before 1968.
- When there are physical conditions present that prevent the use of child safety seats
- Some special education conditions do not need child car seats
If you or your child do not meet one of these conditions, the child must be restrained within the vehicle.
More Relaxed Laws Compared To Other States
New Hampshire car seat laws are more relaxed compared to other states. This allows you more freedom to choose the safety level you want for your children. This may cause issues with knowing which car seat is best for your child. Look at the weight and height limit on the car seat to make the best purchase.
Many car seat manufacturers include recommendations on the proper use of their products. This can tell you which ages, heights, and weights that work best for that car seat.
New Hampshire has fewer rules about car seats and booster seats compared to other states. Children under age 6 and 57 inches need to be in a car seat or booster seat.
Once the children reach the age of 7 and get taller than 57 inches, they may move to a seat belt. Children may also sit in front of the back of the car. Choosing the right car seat and using the safety precautions that make you feel comfortable is best.