Child Safety Seat

Rhode Island state law requires that your child ride in a federally approved car seat or booster seat if he or she is:

  • Under the age of 8
  • Under 57 inches in height
  • Weighs less than 80 pounds

The car seat or booster seat should be appropriate for the child's age, height, and weight, and should be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Children under age 8 must always ride in a rear vehicle seat. Rhode Island law requires that passengers not in a car seat or booster use a seat belt and/or a shoulder harness.

The former recommended standard for turning a child around from a rearward facing car safety seat at 1 year and 20 pounds has been changed. The new recommended standard is a minimum of 2 years of age and the upper weight level of the child protection seat used by the parent or care giver.

The NHTSA has a four step system used for persons traveling in vehicles that range from infants to adults.

Step 1: Rearward facing in a child protection seat with a harness

Step 2: Forward facing in a child protection seat with a harness

Step 3: Forward facing in a belt positioning booster seat utilizing both a lap and shoulder belt

Step 4: Use of the lap and shoulder belt

Parents and care givers should be aware that rearward facing car safety seats in the center seating position of the vehicle is the safest location and safest manner to transport children in vehicles. Also, Step 1 is the safest and each time you advance a step it is another step away from the safest manner to transport the children.

Child Seat Installations

The Portsmouth Police Department has officers who have been certified in the proper installation of child safety seats. We can assist Portsmouth residents with safety seat installations, and also check any safety seat you have already installed.

No appointment is necessary, however we recommend that you call ahead to ensure that a certified officer is available. Please remember to bring the owner's manual for the safety seat and the vehicle.Models Affected: Toddler Convertible Car Seats: Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride 70, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, Size4Me 70, My Size 70, Head Wise 70, Smart Seat. Harnessed Booster Seats: Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite and Argos.