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HOME > WHAT WE DO BY TOPIC > CHILDRENS HEALTH > INJURY PREVENTION > BUCKLE UP BOSTON - CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY

Buckle Up Boston - Child Passenger Safety

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Child Passenger Safety

Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for children. Unrestrained or improperly restrained children are more likely to be injured or suffer injuries in a crash. To keep them safe for every ride, children should always be buckled up, or properly secured in a car seat that is appropriate for their age, height, weight, and development. 

Car seats save lives when they are properly installed. According to Boston EMS, at least 9 out of 10 car seats are not installed correctly in Boston. Therefore, it's important to learn to correctly use the car seat by reviewing the instructions from the car seat manufacturer as well as the vehicle owner's manual. If you need assistance, a Child Passenger Safety technician can help. The Injury Prevention Program helps schedule ongoin car seat checks at a Safe Kids-sponsored inspection station in collaboration with Boston EMS and other coalition partners. 

Recommendations 

Choose the right seat based on your child's age, weight, height and development. 

Check the car seat manufacturers' instructions for the exact age, height and weight limits of each seat.

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Download the full version of our Buckle Up Boston Guide

  • Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible and in the back seat through age 13. 
  • Only move your child to the next car seat when they outgrow the weight or height limit.
  • Most convertible car seats have limits higher weight and height limits that allow children to ride rear-facing longer. 
  • Never add accessories to your child's car seat for comfort that did not come with the packaging. 
  • For a seat belt, the lap belt must lie across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt should lie across the shoulder and chest.
  • Dress your child in nothing thicker than a sweatshirt in their car seat. Place your child's coat or blanket over them for warmth.
  • Never leave your child alone in the car to prevent overheating. Keep your phone, bag or other item in the back seat to remember to bring your child with you.
  • Whether it's a car seat or seat belt, make sure everyone is always buckled up for every drive. 

Car Seat Inspections & Installations

Schedule a free car seat inspection with a Child Passenger Safety technician. Boston residents can schedule an appoint​​​​​​ment​ using the guide below, and non-residents can find a technician in their area he​re

Car Seat Inspections (2).pngDownload the full version of our Buckle Up Boston Guide

MA State Requirements

The Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety Law was amended in July 2008 to include booster seat requirements.

  • Children must be in a federally approved child passenger restraint that is properly fastened and secured until they are 8 years old OR over 59 inches tall. 
  • Children ages 8 through 12 must wear a properly fastened safety belt.
  • A police officer can stop your vehicle if a child age 12 or under is not properly restrained.

Additional Resources

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Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: info@bphc.org