Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death for children throughout the U.S. Ensuring that children are safely and properly secured in their child safety seats is crucial for minimizing injury in car accidents. Plus, adhering to car and booster seat laws in New York means parents and guardians can avoid tickets and other legal repercussions.

Are there Car Seat Laws in New York?

New York state law requires that children under 8 years old be seated in an appropriate car seat or booster seat while in a vehicle. The requirements are based on the child’s age, as well as their weight and height. Further, child restraint systems must meet federal safety standards, including the following:

  • The car seat must pass specific crash tests.
  • The restraint system must be made with the required foam padding and flame-retardant fabric.
  • The seat must require a certain amount of force to buckle to ensure toddlers cannot unbuckle themselves.
  • The seat must include permanent and visible labels with the required information.

Simply buckling a child using the car’s safety belt system is not sufficient or legal unless they meet the size and age requirements.

It is estimated that approximately 46% of car seats and booster seats are used incorrectly. Parents can utilize fitting stations throughout New York to help install the seats properly.

New York does not require child restraint systems to be installed in the back seat. However, it is recommended that car seats not be placed in the front passenger seat. Crash tests have consistently shown that putting the car seat away from the airbags is the safest option.

Car Seat Regulations in New York

The term car seat is often used as a blanket term to mean any type of child restraint system. However, there are slight differences in the types of seats children use, specifically infant seats, convertible child safety seats, and booster seats.

Infant Seat Regulations in New York

Infant seats must be used for children who weigh under 22 pounds and are less than 25 inches long. These seats are rear-facing and often include a bottom base that stays in the vehicle.

Convertible Child Safety Seat Requirements in New York

Convertible child seats can be used for children from birth through their toddler years. For infants, the seat is able to be installed facing the rear of the vehicle. When the child is old enough or meets the height requirement, the seat can be repositioned to face forward. These seats can typically be used for children weighing up to 40 pounds.

Booster Seat Requirements in New York

Booster seats are for older children who have outgrown convertible safety seats. These are intended to keep children safe until they are big enough for the car’s restraint system and to prepare them for using adult seatbelts. Booster seats are often used by children between the ages of 4 and 8, although height and weight play important roles, as well. The typical maximum height and weight limits are 4’ 9” and 100 pounds.

When Can a Child Stop Using a Booster Seat in New York?

If your child is taller than 4’ 9” or weighs more than 100 pounds, they are allowed to use the car’s seat belt system as long as it has both a lap belt and shoulder harness. There are additional requirements, including the following:

– The child should be able to sit with their back to the seat and their knees bent over the edge.

– The lap belt should sit tight across the upper thighs.

– The shoulder belt should not touch the throat but should rest on the collarbone.

New York Penalties for Child Seat Laws

If you are pulled over and ticketed in New York for failing to restrain your child in a car seat, you could face fines of up to $100. This infraction will also add three points to your driver’s license.

Injured in a Car Accident in New York?

Keeping your children safe and secure is your top priority, but sometimes accidents happen. If you or your child has been injured in a car accident in New York, you need compassionate and competent legal representation from an experienced accident attorney. Contact Seitelman Law Offices, P.C. to discuss your case and schedule a free consultation.