Rhode Island car seat laws, like the other states of the US, are there to make sure that your child is safest while traveling by road or by air.
Children are the most affected persons in any car accident as their bodies are fragile and cannot withstand severe crash injuries.
Sometimes, a single second of negligence could lead to a lifetime of regret. But the time and effort are in your hands. You can save your child and stop car accidents by following the car seat laws in Rhode Island.
State of Rhode Island Car Seat Laws 2022
From the age of infancy to childhood, your kid will change 3 car seats: rear-facing, forward-facing, booster car seat, and then shift to the adult seat belt.
The state of Rhode Island has different laws regarding car seat ages and stages. Keep reading to know the requirements for each car seat if you are planning to visit the state soon or you have to use a baby car seats in the future in Rhode Island.
1. Rhode Island Car Seat Laws for Rear-Facing Child
Under Rhode Island car seat laws:
“Every child under the age of 2 years will sit and ride n rear-facing car seats until they have outgrown the age (2+ years), weight (30+ lbs.), and height (25+ inches) limit for that car seat”
A rear-facing car seat is the first car seat that your child will ever have. It is made to install rear-facing so that the most fragile body of your child will be shielded by the most damaging crash forces.
The parents are advised to not hurry in upgrading their child’s car seat as the rear-facing car seat can safely and comfortably accommodate your child for 4 years.
Related à When to upgrade from infant car seat?
Therefore, extended rear-facing is the best decision until at least 4 years of age.
2. Rhode Island Car Seat Laws for Forward-Facing Child
According to the Rhode Island car seat laws:
“When a child crossed the age limit recommended for rear-facing car seat i.e. 2 years is allowed to sit and ride in the forward-facing car seats”
In forward-facing car seats, the child must be adequately restrained in a 5-point harness system as recommended by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
More on the related topic: When can baby face forward in car seat 2022?
3. Rhode Island Booster Seat Laws 2022
As stated by the Rhode Island car seat laws:
“All the children above the age of 6 years must be restrained in booster car seats while traveling by road”
Booster car seats are allowed to be used right after the age of 4 years, however, their harness and height requirement is more suitable for children of age 6+ years.
Requirements for a booster seat in Rhode Island:
Booster car seats are of 2 types: high-back boosters and backless booster seats. Both have different age and weight requirements.
High back booster seat for children of:
- Age: 4-6+ years
- Weight: 40+ lbs.
Backless booster seat for children of:
- Age: 6-8+ years
- Weight: 80+ lbs.
- Booster car seats should not be reclining when installed without a latch system
- An unoccupied car seat must be confined in the car as it may be highly dangerous in car accidents
4. Rhode Island Seat Belt Law 2022
Rho Island car seat law states that:
“Every child who has outgrown the age, weight, and height limit for a booster car seat should use a standard safety belt while riding in the vehicle”
Some parents shift their child to a seat belt right after the age of 8 years. It is not considered to be safe by Child passenger safety technicians. The parents should shift their children to an adult seat belt after 12 years of age when it fits perfectly to them.
How do you come to know whether a seat belt perfectly fits your child or not? It is when:
- The shoulder belt will be in the middle of the chest and shoulder
- The lap belt will snug across the upper thighs, not the stomach
Despite the perfect car seat installation and adequately restrained your child in it, you and your baby may get in trouble because of minor negligence such as:
- Can they sit in the front seat or not
- Leaving them alone in the car
- Smoking in their presence
- Using an expired car seat
- Wrapped them in thick and multiple clothes
- Last but not least, feeding them in the improper way in the car seats
Let’s discuss them in light of Rhode Island car seat laws.
1. When can my child sit in the front seat in Rhode Island?
Under Rhode Island car seat laws:
“All children under 13 years of age are not allowed to sit in the front seat”
If you cannot have any choice except the front seat, make sure that the airbag is not active and that you have snuggly harnessed your child in their car seat.
Read more about it à Does car seat go behind driver or passenger?
2. Is it illegal to leave a child alone in a car in Rhode Island?
As stated by the Rhode Island car seat laws:
“It is illegal to leave a child unattended in the car f they are under 12 years of age, will be alone for more than 15 minutes, and are not harnessed in their car seats”
The parents must know how to make their child’s car more comfortable and what their children should wear in the car seats.
3. What are the Rhode Island car seat laws for taxis and rented vehicles?
It is not clearly mentioned in the Rhode Island car seat laws whether you can use a car seat in rented vehicles or not.
However, the parents are advised to bring their car seats while traveling in a taxi or other rented vehicles.
4. What are the Rhode Island car seat laws for using an expired car seat?
In the Rhode Island car seat laws, there is no law or penalty for using an expired car seat.
Does it mean that you can use an expired car seat? Yes, but in the expert’s view, you should not because car seats are made up of plastic material that is subjected to fragmentation after being continuously exposed to environmental conditions.
Moreover, an expired car seat is no more guaranteed by the car seat manufacturer as safe for your kid.
Related à Why do car seats have expiration dates? What to do with an old car seats?
5. Can I feed my child in the car seat in Rhode Island?
There is no legislation defining the action of feeding a child in a car seat is safe or not.
However, child safety experts say that parents are allowed to offer only liquid foods to their children and not any solids such as:
- Milk, fresh fruit juices
- Meal pouches (contain mashed fruits)
- Car safe sip cups (made of silicon, you can keep boiled water in them to keep our baby hydrated)
The following kind of food can cause choking hazards:
- Minor fruits like grapes, strawberries, etc.
- Peanuts, olives, almonds, etc.
Related à Can you feed a baby in a car seat?
Appropriate Car Seat Use Videos for Rhode Island Parents for Guidance
All the car seats and all the models in a brand may vary in their features and use.
Therefore, we have listed the videos describing general rules for installing all the car seats, including rear-facing, forward-facing, booster, and seat belts.
- Rear-facing car seat installation:
- Child passenger safety rules by child car seat experts:
- How to install forward-facing car seats?
- When to upgrade from booster car seat to seat belt?
- Child seat belt secure positioning:
Child Safety and Car Seat Help Centers in Rhode Island
Minimizing car accidents and injuries to children is the aim of enforcing car seat laws and building institutions such as NHTSA, AAP, etc. When a parent needs help regarding their child’s safety and car seat in Rhode Island, the following institutions will always be there to help them.
- North Kingstown Occupant Safety and Child Restraint Program
- Central Falls Police Department Child Passenger Safety
- NHTSA car seat inspection Center
- List of Rhode Island Car Seat Installation Locations
- Tiverton Police Department Child Safety Seat Installation
- Smithfield Car Seat Installation Clinics
- West Warwick Child Restraint and Seat Belt Safety
- CPS Technician Search: Find a CPS Technician
- Portsmouth Child Safety Seat
- Middletown Police Department Child Safety Seat Installation
- Westerly Child Seat Installations
- Child Passenger Safety call center: 401-477-5060 or 401-477-5033.
Winding up our discussion about Rhode Island car seat laws, we hope that you learned how to choose the right car seat, the right time for the transition, and the mishap you can avoid by following the laws.
Kids are not wise enough to decide the right for them; these are the parents who have to make decisions. Therefore, we have tried to cover the topic in all aspects (the most important things and the minor mistakes that could lead to major accidents).
We wish you a good time in Rhode Island and hope that our listed laws and rules will help you there.