Child Restraint Law
EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1st , 2004
Title 23: Motor Vehicles
Chapter 13: Operation of Vehicles
23 V.S.A. § 1258. Child restraint systems
§ 1258. Child restraint systems; persons under age 16
(a) No person shall operate a motor vehicle, other than a type I school bus, in this state upon a public highway unless every occupant under age 16 is properly restrained in a federally-approved child passenger restraining system as defined in 49 C.F.R. § 571.213 (1993) or a federally-approved safety belt, as follows:
(1) all children under the age of one, and all children weighing less than 20 pounds, regardless of age, shall be restrained in a rear-facing position, properly secured in a federally-approved child passenger restraining system, which shall not be installed in front of an active air bag;
(2) a child weighing more than 20 pounds, and who is one year of age or older and under the age of eight years, shall be restrained in a child passenger restraining system; and
(3) a child eight through 15 years of age shall be restrained in a safety belt system or a child passenger restraining system.
(b) A person shall not be adjudicated in violation of this section if:
(1) the motor vehicle is regularly used to transport passengers for hire except a motor vehicle owned or operated by a day care facility; or
(2) the motor vehicle was manufactured without safety belts.
(c) The penalty for violation of this section shall be as follows:
(1) $25.00 for a first violation;
(2) $50.00 for a second violation;
(3) $100.00 for third and subsequent violations. (Added 1983, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1987, No. 49; 1989, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.); 1993, No. 20, § 1; 1993, No. 119 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2003, No. 28, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.)
Protecting Your Children
It’s Harder Than It Looks
Listed below are tips on keeping kids safe when riding in motor vehicles. Consider these life-saving recommendations when installing a car seat or buckling up kids:
Children under 12 should never ride in front of an active airbag.
Car seats must be put in tight, 1 inch or less movement side to side and front to back at the belt path of the car seat. Check by pulling at the opening of the belt path on the car seat for a tight fit.
Lean or kneel into the car seat, then buckle it with the seat belt.
Check the seat belt for instructions on installing a car seat. Your seat belt may need an additional device for proper fit.
Harness straps should be snug like a hug.
Keep harness chest clip at armpit level.
Never install a car seat on a side-facing or rear-facing vehicle seat.
All car seats and seat belts involved in a crash must be replaced.
Refer to car seat instructions and vehicle owner’s manual for more details on proper installation of car seats.
Children learn by example – Please wear your seatbelt.
Motor Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for our young children.
To check for recalled car seats and for assistance with installation, call:
Vermont Governor’s Highway Safety Program at 1-888-TOT-SEAT