What are the Rhode Island Car Seat Laws?


Welcome to the Rhode Island Car Seat Law Explained in Simple, Plain English!

Find out exactly the laws about booster seats, rear-facing, taxis and everything there’s to know on how to keep your child safe.


Car seat laws are changing, and I’ve decided to make it simple to find exactly what you’re looking for. We are on the road all the time, and we have to keep our kids safe, and avoiding fines is a bonus.

You see, I’ve looked at the law and translated that dry and hard-to-understand language into a simple and parent-friendly text. Now you will know exactly what to do.

Let’s get started already!




By reading this article you agree that it’s for informational purposes and I can’t be held liable for the best advice ask the appropriate person.


Rhode Island Booster Seat Laws


Booster seats are mandatory for all kids under the age of 8, or their height is below 57” or they weigh less than 80 pounds.

In essence, you will need a booster seat until the age of eight if you live in Rhode Island.


Rhode Island Rear-facing Car Seat Laws

If you have kids under the age of 2 or they weigh less than 30 pounds, then you will have to keep them in rear-facing mode.


Rhode Island Forward-facing Car Seat Laws

Forward-facing car seats can be used after your child has reached 2 years. The law also states that it’s a good idea to keep your child in rear-facing mode after the age of two until they have outgrown their seat either by weight or height.


Rhode Island Taxi Car Seat Laws

Taxis are not exempt from the car seat law. This means that you need to provide a car seat when traveling by taxi or arrange ahead of time with the company.

And by taxi, I mean all other ridesharing options like Uber, Lyft and others.


When Can My Child Sit in the Front Seat in Rhode Island?

According to the law, your child can seat in front in case there’s no back seat, or it’s occupied by other children.


Rhode Island Car Seat Laws at a Glance

Here you can find the entire law in one place:

Car Seat Law (Section 31-22-22)

Law: If you have kids under 8 or they are less than 57 inches in height, and their weight is under 80 pounds, they have to be protected with a child restraint system approved FMVSS 213.

  • The case of infants and toddlers who are younger than 2 years and weigh less than 30 pounds have to be in a rear-facing car seat.
  • If kids are older than 2 and have outgrown their rear-facing car seat either by weight or height should be upgraded to a forward-facing car seat until the manufacturer recommends it.
  • Suppose your child is younger than 8 years and has a height of at least 57 inches or weight at least 80 pounds. They have to restrain with the seat belt or shoulder harness in one of the back seats of the car.
  • Suppose your child is between 8 and 18, then they can seat in any place (including the front), and they have to be secured with the seat belt or the shoulder harness.

Location in the car:  The law is quite clear kids under 8 have to sit in one of the back seats if available.

Taxi: Taxis in Rhode Island are not exempt from the above laws.

RideSafer legal: Yes, it is legal and can be used with kids who are at least 3 years and weigh 30 pounds.

Fines: $85; $40 for children between 8-17

Seat Belt Law

  • Law: According to the law all occupants are required to wear seat belts.
  • Fine: $40
  • RVs: The RV law is the same as the general seat belt law as in all occupants have to wear a seat belt and for children car seat laws apply.


What is the law concerning Leaving kids in the Car in Rhode Island

At the moment, there’s no law against leaving your child in the car alone. However, there are no guarantees that the watchful eye of the law does not arrest or fine you for the simple reason of child neglect.


Is it Illegal to Smoke in a Car with a Child in Rhode Island?

There are no laws in Rhode Island banning smoking in the car while having kids on board. I highly advise not to smoke while driving your kids because of secondhand causes many thousand deaths every year in the states.


Conclusions on Rhode Island Car Seat Laws

We have reached the end of this article about car seat safety. I’ve done my best to make the article as reader-friendly as possible. Also, I’ve translated the dry law into something easy to understand.

We’re in the same boat, fellow parents. We all want to keep our kids safe because it’s our duty.

I’ve covered everything there’s about and just in case I’ve missed something, let me know, and I’ll do my best to update.

Maybe you can help me out by sharing this post so other parents can know exactly how to keep their kids safe and avoid fines in the process. Thank You!


Are you planning a trip to Massachusetts?

Then it’s time to brush up on the Massachusetts car seat laws because each state has different rules on how to keep your kids safe on the road

Related: Booster seat requirements CT

Related: What are the MA car seat laws?


Our Previous Article:

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When to Upgrade Car Seat? Essential Timelines & Tips in 2024

Car Seats History: When Were Car Seats Invented?

Frequently Asked Questions For Rhode Island Car Seat Laws

What Age Requires Car Seats In Rhode Island?

Rhode Island law mandates that children under 8 years old, less than 57 inches tall, and weighing less than 80 pounds must use an appropriate child restraint system.

Is A Booster Seat Mandatory In Rhode Island?

Yes, booster seats are required for children who have outgrown their forward-facing car seats, typically between ages 4 and 8, until they are tall enough for seat belts.

Can Children Sit In The Front Seat In Rhode Island?

Children under age 13 should sit in the back seat; Rhode Island recommends against placing children in the front seat due to the risks posed by airbags.

What Are The Penalties For Violating Car Seat Laws?

Violating Rhode Island’s car seat laws can result in fines and court costs, with fines increasing for subsequent offenses to promote adherence to child safety regulations.

Last Updated on May 17, 2024 by Brian Beasley

Written by Linda Reid

Hey there, I'm Linda, a mom of three cool kids. I've tried so many car seats, you could call me a "Car Seat Detective." Searching for the perfect car seat can feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but don't worry! I've committed to researching and reviewing car seats that are super safe, cozy, and great for growing kids. Together, we'll find the perfect car seat that keeps your child safe and cozy, and makes you feel like a super-parent!