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Booster Seat Laws In New Mexico
Ensuring the safety of children on the road is a top priority for every parent and caregiver. New Mexico has specific booster seat laws in place to protect children and reduce the risk of injuries in motor vehicle accidents. In this article, we will explore the booster seat laws in New Mexico, including the age and height requirements, types of booster seats, and penalties for non-compliance.
Age and Height Requirements
According to New Mexico law, children under the age of 18 must be properly restrained in a booster seat or a seat belt. The specific age and height requirements for booster seat use are as follows:
Children Under 1 Year Old
- Children under 1 year old must be secured in a rear-facing car seat.
- This requirement applies regardless of their weight or height.
Children 1 to 4 Years Old
- Children aged 1 to 4 must be secured in a rear-facing or forward-facing car seat.
- The seat must comply with federal safety standards.
- Once the child outgrows the weight or height limits of their car seat, they should transition to a booster seat.
Children 5 to 7 Years Old
- Children aged 5 to 7 must be secured in a booster seat.
- The booster seat should be used until the child reaches the height of 4’9″ or turns 8 years old.
- After reaching the height or age requirement, the child can use a seat belt alone.
Children 8 Years Old and Older
- Children aged 8 and older are allowed to use the vehicle’s seat belt.
- The seat belt should properly fit the child by crossing the shoulder and hips.
- A lap belt should never be placed across the stomach.
Types of Booster Seats
There are different types of booster seats available, each suitable for a specific age group and weight range. It is important to choose and use the right booster seat for your child to ensure their safety.
The common types of booster seats include:
High-Back Booster Seat
- A high-back booster seat provides support for a child’s head and neck.
- It is suitable for children who are transitioning from a forward-facing car seat.
- This type of booster seat provides added protection in vehicles without headrests.
Backless Booster Seat
- A backless booster seat is a cushioned seat that raises the child’s height.
- It is suitable for older children who have outgrown the weight or height limit of a high-back booster seat.
- This type of booster seat requires proper positioning of the vehicle’s seat belt.
- A combination seat functions as both a forward-facing car seat and a booster seat.
- It can be converted from a forward-facing seat with a harness to a high-back or backless booster seat.
- This type of booster seat is suitable for children who are growing out of their car seat but still need a booster.
Penalties for Non-Compliance
Failure to comply with the booster seat laws in New Mexico can result in penalties and fines. The penalties for non-compliance are as follows:
- A first offense for not using a booster seat can result in a fine of $25.
- The driver may also be required to attend a car seat education class.
Second and Subsequent Offenses
- A second or subsequent offense within 12 months can result in a fine of $50.
- Further non-compliance may lead to additional fines and penalties.
Booster seat laws in New Mexico are in place to protect children and ensure their safety on the road. It is important for parents and caregivers to familiarize themselves with these laws and comply with the age and height requirements for booster seat use. By properly restraining children in booster seats, we can reduce the risk of injuries and provide a safe travel experience for our little ones.