Car Seat Laws in Rhode Island

Rhode Island car seat laws mandate that children under the age of eight must be secured in a safety seat appropriate for their size.
Written by Michelle Ballestrasse
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Rhode Island car seat laws break down according to your child’s size, and all children under the age of 8 or 80 pounds must be secured in a child safety seat.
Rhode Island is one of the few states where breaking car seat law will mandate a court appearance in addition to a fine. This can be subverted by proving you’ve purchased the right restraint system for your child.
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What is the car seat law in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island’s car seat laws break down according to the child’s age and size, as follows:
  • Infants and toddlers under the age of 2 years or weighing less than 30 pounds must be in a rear-facing car seat.
  • Children over the age of 2 who have outgrown their rear-facing car seat should be in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they outgrow it.
  • Children who have outgrown front-facing car seats but are under the age of 8, shorter than 57 inches tall, or weighing less than 80 pounds should sit in a booster seat.
  • Children who are taller than 57 inches or weigh over 80 pounds (even if they’re under the age of 8) can use a standard seat belt.
Key Takeaway Children younger than 8 should be in an appropriate safety restraint system.

What are the penalties for breaking the car seat law in Rhode Island?

If you’re pulled over for having a child who is not securely fastened in the car, you’ll receive a citation.
You’ll have seven days to prove that you’ve purchased an appropriate restraint system. If you can’t provide proof of purchase, you will need to appear in court before a tribunal and will be fined $85.

Can breaking the car seat law impact my driving record?

Citations won’t appear on your driving record; however, if you receive a fine and don’t pay it, that might.
If you receive a citation and address it promptly, your driving record will remain clean.

How breaking car seat laws can impact insurance in Rhode Island

Since citations don’t appear on your driving record as per Rhode Island law, it’s unlikely that breaking the state’s car seat laws will have any impact on your insurance.
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