Rhode Island has a primary seat belt law (R.I.G.L. § 31-22-22) that encompasses child restraint and child passenger safety.
NOTE: Vehicle operators are responsible for compliance of sections (a), (b) and (f) for all passengers. The fine for a child riding in the front seat and/or over 8 years old not in a seatbelt is $85. A violation for transporting a child not in a child restraint system requires an appearance in court.
Type of Seat: Infant seats and rear-facing convertible seats
General Guidelines: All infants and toddlers under the age of two (2) or weighing less than thirty (30) pounds must ride in a rear-facing child safety seat.
Type of Seat: Convertible seats and forward-facing seats with harnesses
General Guidelines: All children 2 years or older, or those younger than 2 years who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their safety seat, should use a forward-facing child safety seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat's manufacturer.
Type of Seat: Booster seats
General Guidelines: All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their harnessed child safety seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
Type of Seat: Seat belts
General Guidelines: When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for optimal protection. All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.
The Rhode Island State Police and your local police department have Child Passenger Safety Technicians who can teach you to properly install your child safety seat or answer any questions you have.