Health and Safety
Most sizable cities in New England have their own hospitals with emergency rooms. Highway signs with the hospital symbol — a white H on a blue background — can direct you to the nearest facility. Many cities and towns also have walk-in clinics for minor emergencies and ailments. Over-the-counter drugs are available at pharmacies, grocery and convenience stores, and even at many discount and department stores. If you require prescription medications, it is a good idea to bring along an adequate supply.
As a general rule, New England is a safe place to travel. That said, visitors to the region should stay alert and use common sense to protect themselves and their belongings.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Don't carry large amounts of cash. Traveler's checks and credit cards are much safer choices, or withdraw small amounts of cash at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), which are commonplace throughout the region.
Carry valuables — passports, visas, money, jewelry — close to you at all times. Do not leave valuables unattended in your hotel room. Check with your hotel for the availability of a safe.
Lock your hotel door and use the deadbolt where available. Lock your car doors, whether you're parked or driving.
Do not leave luggage or purchases visible in your car.
Whenever possible, stay in well-traveled, populated areas, particularly after dark.
In most of New England, you can dial 911 from any telephone to access the emergency response system. If 911 service is not available, dial 0, and an operator can connect you to the appropriate emergency services.
Fill your car with gas before heading to remote areas, and don't underestimate the usefulness of a good map.
Deer, moose, and slick, wet fall leaves can all create driving hazards. In the autumn, watch out, too, for drivers who are looking at leaves instead of watching the road.
Safety Belt and Child Restraint Laws
In New England, laws requiring the use of safety belts and child restraints vary by state. Here is a quick summary:
Connecticut — Safety belts are required for all front-seat passengers ages seven and up. Children six years old and younger and less than sixty pounds must be secured in rear-seat child restraints.
Maine — Passengers over age eight must wear seatbelts in all seats. Children ages eight and younger and less than 80 pounds must ride in the rear of the vehicle in a child-safety or booster seat. Children ages eleven and younger and less than 100 pounds must ride in the rear seat if available.
Massachusetts — Safety belts are required for passengers ages five and up in all seats. Children four years old and younger or who weigh less than forty pounds must ride in a rear- seat child restraint.
New Hampshire — Children five years old and younger who are less than 55 inches tall must be secured in a rear-seat child restraint. Children ages six through seventeen must wear a seatbelt in all seats. There is no safety belt law applying to adults in New Hampshire.
Rhode Island — Passengers ages seven and up must wear safety belts in all seats. Children six years and younger and less than 54 inches and less than eighty pounds must ride in a car seat. Children six years and younger and greater than 54 inches and eighty pounds must be seated in the rear of the vehicle if space allows.
Vermont — Everyone eight and up must wear a safety belt in any seat of a vehicle. Rear-seat child restraints are required for children ages seven and younger.
For more information about highway safety laws and potential fines, call the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety at 703-247-1500 or visit the nonprofit organization's Web site at
Laws pertaining to helmets for motorcycle drivers and passengers also vary by state. In Connecticut, helmets are required for riders seventeen and younger only. In Maine, they are required for riders fourteen and younger. In Rhode Island, riders twenty years old and younger are required to wear helmets. In Massachusetts and Vermont, all riders must wear helmets.
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island also have laws requiring the use of helmets by young bicyclists. In Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, riders younger than sixteen must wear a helmet. In Massachusetts, bicycle riders ages one through sixteen must wear helmets; children under one are prohibited from riding on bicycles.
New Haven, Connecticut