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Child Passenger Safety In New Mexico

In New Mexico, all passengers in the front and back seats must be wearing a seat belt. All persons in a moving vehicle, in all positions, at all times, must be belted.

The law in New Mexico requires all children up to their 7th birthday, regardless of weight, and all children less than 60 pounds, regardless of age, to ride in a child safety seat. The law also states that children ages 7 to 12 must ride in a booster seat until the adult seat belt fits them properly.

All children must remain rear facing until they are at least 1 year of age and 20 pounds. However, ALL children should stay rear facing as long as possible, until the child weighs about 35 pounds.

Children should ride in a forward-facing child safety seat with a harness until they reach the height or weight limits of the seat – most models can be used up to 40 pounds, but some go to 60 pounds or more.

Children should ride in booster seats until the vehicle seat belt fits correctly. Booster seats must be used with both lap and shoulder belts. Booster seats cannot be used with a lap belt alone.

New Mexico has a primary enforcement seat belt law and a primary child restraint enforcement law. This means that a vehicle can be stopped for other reasons, and if the driver or any passengers are not wearing their seat belts, or children are not properly restrained, the officer can issue seat belt or child restraint violations.

For more information on child passenger safety, including car seat programs, click here.

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