2006 New Mexico Statutes - 66-7-369 — Child passenger restraint; enforcement.

66-7-369. Child passenger restraint; enforcement.

A.     A person shall not operate a passenger car, van or pickup truck in this state, except for an authorized emergency vehicle, public transportation or a school bus, unless all passengers less than eighteen years of age are properly restrained.

B.     Each person less than eighteen years of age shall be properly secured in a child passenger restraint device or by a safety belt, unless all seating positions equipped with safety belts are occupied, as follows:

(1)     children less than one year of age shall be properly secured in a rear-facing child passenger restraint device that meets federal standards, in the rear seat of a vehicle that is equipped with a rear seat.  If the vehicle is not equipped with a rear seat, the child may ride in the front seat of the vehicle if the passenger-side air bag is deactivated or if the vehicle is not equipped with a deactivation switch for the passenger-side air bag;

(2)     children one year of age through four years of age, regardless of weight, or children who weigh less than forty pounds, regardless of age, shall be properly secured in a child passenger restraint device that meets federal standards;

(3)     children five years of age through six years of age, regardless of weight, or children who weigh less than sixty pounds, regardless of age, shall be properly secured in either a child booster seat or an appropriate child passenger restraint device that meets federal standards; and

(4)     children seven years of age through twelve years of age shall be properly secured in a child passenger restraint device or by a seat belt.

C.     A child is properly secured in an adult seat belt when the lap belt properly fits across the child's thighs and hips and not the abdomen.  The shoulder strap shall cross the center of the child's chest and not the neck, allowing the child to sit all the way back against the vehicle seat with knees bent over the seat edge.

D.     Failure to be secured by a child passenger restraint device, by a child booster seat or by a safety belt as required by this section shall not in any instance constitute fault or negligence and shall not limit or apportion damages.

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