New Mexico Child Car Seat Laws

Traffic accidents result in more child deaths than any other type of accident. Across the country, over 600 children died, and another 63,000 children suffered injuries in car crashes in 2020.

Every state in the country has passed a child car seat law to address this public health issue. These laws fall into two broad categories. Some states pass general laws that put the burden of choosing a car seat on the parents. Other states, like New Mexico, prescribe a specific car seat system based on the child’s age and size.

Our Albuquerque car accident attorneys at Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers have provided some information regarding the state’s laws on car seat usage. If you need help after a collision in Albuquerque, NM, contact our law firm at (505) 594-3621 for a free case evaluation. 

How Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Car Accident in Albuquerque, NM

How Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Car Accident in Albuquerque, NM

Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers has been helping accident victims in Albuquerque, NM with their personal injury claims since 2011. Our attorneys have experience handling all types of personal injury claims and a 98% success rate in settling or winning cases for our clients.

After a crash, our Albuquerque personal injury lawyers can help you with the following:

  • Understanding your rights and legal options for getting fair compensation
  • Filing insurance claims and negotiating for a fair settlement
  • Litigating against at-fault parties and their insurers if they refuse to settle

A car accident can produce devastating injuries, particularly when they affect children. Contact Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the injuries you and your children suffered and the financial compensation you can seek.

How Many Children Are Injured or Killed in New Mexico Car Accidents?

New Mexico’s Traffic Crash Annual Report for 2021 reported that 7,540 children 14 or younger were involved in traffic crashes. 

Of these child accident victims:

  • 21 died
  • 54 suffered incapacitating injuries that required an ambulance
  • 331 suffered visible but non-incapacitating injuries
  • 723 complained of pain but had no visible injury

The Traffic Crash Annual Report includes statistics about the restraint status of children injured in New Mexico crashes. These numbers reveal that child restraints work. 

Unrestrained or improperly restrained children involved in car accidents in 2022 were:

  • Nearly 57 times more likely to die
  • 20 times more likely to need an ambulance
  • Over five times more likely to have a visible injury
  • One and a half times more likely to complain of symptoms like dizziness or pain

Importantly, children in car seats and boosters were 54% more likely to walk away from their crashes without injuries.

Car Seat Laws in New Mexico

New Mexico passed its car seat law in 1983. New Mexico child car seat laws require:

Children Under a Year Old

Children under a year old must ride in a rear-facing car seat. A rear-facing car seat positions the child on their back with their head pointed toward the front of the car. This type of seat supports the child in a crash. As a result, the child is less likely to suffer whiplash to their undeveloped neck muscles.

The law also requires the child to ride in the rear seat. If the vehicle lacks a rear seat, the law allows the child to ride in the front seat only if the vehicle has no passenger airbag or the driver has deactivated it.

Children One Through Four Years Old

Children under four years old must ride in a car seat regardless of their weight. The child can ride in a front or rear-facing car seat. A front-facing seat includes an integrated backrest and headrest. It also has a five-point harness to hold the child.

Children under 40 pounds must also ride in a car seat if they are younger than 12 years.

Children Five and Six Years Old

Children who are five and six years old can ride in a booster seat if it positions them to properly wear a seat belt. This means the child must be tall enough that the booster lifts them high enough that the lap belt crosses their hips rather than the abdomen. The shoulder belt must also cross the chest rather than the neck.

Children between 40 and 60 pounds must ride in a booster seat if they are younger than 12.

Children Seven Years or Older

From seven to twelve, children must ride in a car seat, booster, or seat belt, depending on the child’s size. 

Specifically, the law requires:

  • Children under 40 pounds to ride in a car seat
  • Children under 60 pounds to ride in a booster
  • Children over 60 pounds to wear a seat belt

Once a child reaches twelve years old, they are supposed to wear a seat belt.

Consequences of Not Using a Car Seat in NM

A child not riding in a safety seat will probably suffer more serious injuries in a car or truck accident. But unlike some states, New Mexico does not allow at-fault drivers to use a failure to properly secure a child as a defense against paying personal injury compensation to the child.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Albuquerque Car Accident Lawyers

You may need compensation to secure your child’s future after they get injured in a car accident. Contact Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the injuries you and your child suffered and your options for financial compensation.