Child Safety Seats

Are you and your child passengers properly restrained while driving?

Motor Vehicle Crashes
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children ages 3 to 14 in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration  (NHTSA). An average of 5 children age 14 and younger were killed and 640 injured in motor vehicle crashes each day across the United States in 2005. Even a sudden stop can seriously injure a child who is not riding securely in the right type of child safety seat.

Child Passenger Safety
State and local police and others involved in child passenger safety (CPS) work continuously to educate parents and caregivers on how to safely transport children in motor vehicles. But state and local police are ready to enforce the Massachusetts CPS Law if necessary to protect children. In 2006 Massachusetts drivers were issued 1,060 CPS Law violations for unrestrained children.

Tips for "best practices" when driving with children as passengers:
  • Children from birth to 1 year and less than 20-22 pounds should be in a rear-facing infant seat. It is safest to have these seats in the back seat and away from air bags.
  • Children 1 to 4 years and 20 to 40 pounds should ride in a forward-facing child seat.
  • Children who have outgrown a child safety seat, typically when they are over 40 pounds or 5 years of age, should transition to a booster seat which assists in the proper fit of a safety belt.
  • Children who are 8 years of age and older or  57 inches in height or taller are ready to use just a safety belt.
  • Children 12 and younger should never sit in the front seat. The safest seating position is in the back seat, away from air bags if possible.
  • Children 13 years of age or older should ride in the front seat, but should position their seat as far back as possible from the air bag.
  • Always wear your lap and shoulder belt when driving - it protects you in case of a crash and it sets a good example for children.
Note: Please be aware that the Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety Law was strengthened with new booster seat requirements on July 10, 2008.

Car Seat Inspection & Installment
The South Hadley Police Department is committed to keeping our children safe. The South Hadley Police Department will offer Child Passenger Car Seat inspections to any South Hadley resident by appointment only. For South Hadley residents only, certified technicians will thoroughly inspect child passenger car seats for wear and effectiveness and assist owners with installation. To schedule an appointment contact Officer Steven Fleming during the day at 413-538-8231, extension 413 or Officer Douglas Percy 413-538-8231, extension 427.

Out of Town Residents
This program is offered to South Hadley residents only. Out of town residents may contact the Western Massachusetts SAFE KIDS Coalition, which conducts weekly checkpoints on Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment only at 413-794-2255.

For more information on child passenger safety visit the website.