New Mexico implements many car seat laws to protect children’s lives. If you live in New Mexico and you want to drive with your children in the car, then you must abide by all of New Mexico’s car seat laws. New Mexico’s car seat laws exist to keep your children safe and protect them if an accident happens.
In New Mexico, any child that is under the age of eighteen must use a child passenger restraint device or a seat belt when riding in a vehicle. Babies and children that are up to one year old must ride in a rear-facing child safety device.
Children one to four years old, or children under forty pounds, must ride in a child safety seat that can be front-facing. Children five to six years old can use a booster seat or a child safety seat. Children that are thirteen to seventeen must wear a seatbelt. Also, you should always keep your child riding in the backseat of your car for as long as possible.
The car seat laws in New Mexico resemble similar car seat laws in other states. The laws are in place to keep your child safe. This article will explore the car seat laws in New Mexico in more detail.
New Mexico Car Seat Safety Law
In New Mexico, the car seat safety law encompasses children from birth until they are six years old and weigh at least sixty pounds. Even after that, children are still required to use a seatbelt and sit in the back of the car.
These car laws exist to protect children of all ages, no matter what car their parents use. The most important laws concerning car seat safety in New Mexico include:
New Mexico Car Seat Laws
In New Mexico, you must use a rear-facing car seat during particular situations. When a child is younger than one year old, then they should be placed in one of these car seats. That includes infants and babies that are up to one year old.
If your child is smaller, then you may want to keep him or her in a rear-facing car seat for longer. Many parents feel safer keeping their child in a rear-facing car seat until the baby is two to three years old. If you decide to do this, your child will be fine.
Several rear-facing car seat choices exist that will fit the age of your child. You can pick a few different car seats, like
- An infant carrier
- A baby car seat
- A convertible car seat that faces backward
Anyone of these options would meet the minimum requirements for a rear-facing seat in Rhode Island.
Also in Rhode Island, a child that is under one-year can only sit in the front seat if your vehicle does not feature a rear seat and if you deactivate your passenger-side air bag. It is also acceptable if the motor vehicle features a deactivation switch for the air bag and is deactivated.
Forward Facing Car Seat
In the state of New Mexico, there are rules for when your child can use a forward-facing car seat. Your child must be over one-year old and weigh less than forty pounds to use a forward-facing car seat in Rhode Island. Typically, in New Mexico, children ride in front-facing car seats from the ages of one to four.
If your child is one and is still below twenty pounds, then you can keep him or her in a rear-facing car seat. However, that is optional in Rode Island. That way, he or she will be safer in case of an accident.
There are several rear-facing car seats available for purchase that have higher weight ratings. Some of those car seats allow the child to weigh up to thirty-five pounds and still face backward while driving. So, if you want to wait before turning your child around, that’s fine.
Using a Booster Seat
There are special rules in place in New Mexico dictating when your child can use a booster seat. When your child is over one year old, then he or she can use a booster seat or a child safety restraint system in the vehicle’s rear seat. This law applies to all children under six years old.
When your child is seven-years-old and over sixty pounds, then he or she is no longer mandated to utilize a child safety restraint system. However, the child still must sit in the car’s rear seats. Children can only sit in the front seat if other younger children take up the rear seats, or if the car doesn’t include rear seats.
When you use your booster seat, make sure the lap belt sits over your child’s lap. You want to make sure you do not lay the belt across his or her stomach. The movement of the lap belt can happen quite naturally, so make sure you check on it before you drive away on your adventure.
New Mexico Seat Belt Law
New Mexico also has laws about using seatbelts. In New Mexico, it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure everybody riding in the car is using a seatbelt. If a person is caught not wearing his or her seatbelt, the driver will be fined $25 as well as additional court costs.
If a driver only has a learner’s permit, then he or she can have other penalties imposed upon him or her, including license advancement displays because of a seatbelt violation.
There are some exceptions when it comes to New Mexico seat belt law. Particular people and vehicles can be exempt from these seat belt laws.
Postal carriers are exempt from these laws. Also, people that are medically unable to wear a seatbelt can be exempt. However, a person must carry a certification from a physician documenting the medical issue.
Using an Adult Safety Belt
The last group of children we need to cover are those that use an adult safety belt. In New Mexico, once a child is over sixty pounds and older than six-years-old, then he or she can sit in the back seat and use a seat belt. It is recommended that your child sit in the back seat and use a seat belt until he or she is eighteen years old.
If your vehicle does not have a back seat or is occupied by other, younger children, then your older child may sit in the front using a seat belt. Remember, you should always keep your youngest child in the back seat of your car.
Penalties for Not Following New Mexico Car Seat Laws
If you receive a child restraint violation in New Mexico, you will be fined $25, and you’ll also need to pay court costs. You will also be given two points on your driver’s license if you receive a first offense.
If you continue after the first offense, you may get a larger fine and additional points on your record. That could result in higher insurance premiums or a driver’s license suspension.