Rhode Island Car Seat Laws & Requirements

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Rhode Island has passed laws ensuring that children are protected when riding in a car. This is especially important because many people do not know the laws that apply to their state.

According to car seat laws in Rhode Island, rear-facing car seats are compulsory for children under a year old.

Once old enough, forward-facing car seats should be used until they are eight or meet weight and height requirements specified by the State.

Children must use booster seats between 40 and 65 pounds, usually from age four to eight.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about these rules that are applicable in Rhode Island for your child safety.

Rhode Island Car Seat Requirements By Ages

At what age can a child sit in the front seat in RI? Read my guide to find the answer

The requirements for car seats vary by age, and parents need to know their child’s age range to ensure their child is using the correct type of car seat.

Let me take you through the Rhode Island, car seat requirements for each age group.

1 Year Old

The law says that children under one year old must be using a rear-facing car seat to the point they reach a height of 20 inches or40 pounds in weight.

The seat must be in a rear-facing position until they are at least one year old.

2 Year Old

The minimum required car seat for 2-year-olds is a rear-facing car seat. When they reach 42 pounds, they will switch to an appropriate forward-facing seat.

3 Year Old

A child three years old is required to be in a forward-facing car seat equipped with a system of harnesses until they reach a height of 4’9” and 32 pounds in weight.

After this, they can use a booster seat until they are eight years old.

4 Year Old

Children of 4 years old are required to ride in a booster seat until the child is 4’9” tall.

The child must sit upright in the seat without any support and maintain the correct body position for the entire trip.

The child’s car seat must be forward-facing and properly installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

5 Year Old

For a 5-year-old, the same rules apply to them as 4-year-olds.

That they are required by the law to use a booster seat, they are 4’9” tall. At that point, they can use a car seat belt until they are eight years old.

6 Year Old

A6-year-old child will have to follow suit with children between the ages of 4 and 5, respectively. They must use a booster seat till they reach a height of 4’9”.

7 – 9 Year Old

Rhode Island law requires children between 7 and 9 years to ride in a car seat or booster seat.

The booster seat must be used until they reach the age of 8 or weigh more than 80 pounds, whichever comes first.

10 Year Old

Rhode Island law requires that kids between the ages of 10 and 13 ride in a booster seat.

The law also requires that kid between 10 and 13 rides in a booster seat until they reach a height of 4 feet 11 inches or weigh more than 80 pounds, at which time they must be properly restrained in an adult seat belt.

Car Seat Weight And Height Requirements In Rhode Island

Children younger than four must use a car seat until they reach 35 pounds.

Once they reach 40 pounds, they can go into a convertible booster seat or belt-positioning booster seat.

They also need to be at least 4 feet 9 inches tall before entering any vehicle seat belt (including lap belts).

However, if your child is less than 4 feet 9 inches tall, you should consult an expert on car seats before purchasing one because buying one incorrectly can lead to serious injuries.

Type Of Car Seat Laws In Rhode Island

Rhode Island has a few different types of car seat laws.

The state has passed a law that requires all children under the age of 13 to use an appropriate car seat or booster seat at all times.

The state also requires parents and caregivers over 18 years old to ensure that their passengers are buckled up whenever they ride in a vehicle with kids under the age of 8 years old.

1. Rear Facing Car Seat

A rear-facing car seat is designed to restrain a child in the back of an automobile.

The seat belt should be positioned low on your child’s hips to maintain an appropriate posture while seated.

When used properly, this type of seat will also provide some protection from side impacts with other vehicles during collisions.

2. Forward Facing Car Seat

A forward-facing car seat is designed to restrain a child in front of an automobile.

The seat belt should be positioned high on your child’s shoulders to maintain an appropriate posture while seated.

3. Booster Seat

According to the state law, booster seats must be used in all vehicles manufactured after June 1, 2002.

A child must be at least four years old to use a booster seat, which fulfills its purpose of lifting the child high enough to travel safely in a car.

A booster seat must fit securely in the vehicle’s seat belt anchorage points and meet federal safety standards.

When Is The Time For My Child To Sit In The Front Seat In Rhode Island?

If you’re a driver in Rhode Island and you have a child under the age of 8, they cannot sit in the front seat.

But if they are eight or older, children can sit on the front seat provided they meet the requirements of being a passenger, including being seated in a seat belt and having an appropriate car seat as per the State’s guidelines.

What Happens If You Leave Your Child In A Car In Rhode Island?

You’re breaking the law if you leave your child in a car in Rhode Island.

The state of Rhode Island has very strict laws about leaving children unattended in cars, which local police departments enforce.

The penalties for being caught breaking this law are harsh, and if you’re found guilty of leaving your child alone in a car, police will issue you an infraction ticket that requires you to appear in court within 30 days.

If you fail to appear or the court finds you guilty of the offense, you’ll be fined $200 for each day the fine is not paid.

Taxi Car Seat Laws In Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, taxis must have a passenger seat belt or a CRS (child restraint system) installed in the back of the vehicle.

The taxi must also display a yellow decal on its back window.

This decal can be seen in the rearview mirror because, in Rhode Island, a car seat is required for children under age eight who ride in a car or taxi.

Taxi drivers may be fined if they do not have a seat belt for passengers or a child restraint system installed in their vehicles.

Rhode Island Law Regarding Car Seats In Accidents

If you have been involved in an accident with a child under age 13 who is not wearing a properly secured child safety seat, it is illegal for any driver to leave the scene without reporting it to the police immediately.

All children must use age-appropriate car seats or booster seats. The laws are designed to protect children from serious injury when they are involved in car accidents.

Uber Car Seat Laws In Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, Uber drivers must have a car seat for passengers under the age of 12 and/or weigh less than 100 pounds.

This is not only to protect passengers but also to keep drivers safe.

Drivers who do not have proper child car seats may be fined up to $50 per passenger they transport without one, and if a driver does not have a child seat or has not been properly trained by their employer on how to use one, they may also be fined up to $50 for every violation.


The state has made great strides in the last few years to improve its roads’ safety, which is reflected in Rhode Island car seat laws.

The state has made it a priority to ensure that all children are properly restrained in the backseats of their cars.

If you are familiar with these rules, you can make sure that everyone on your road trip is safe!

Even if you can’t retain all this information at once, this article serves as a perfect guide that will aid you whenever you intend to use a car seat for your child.