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New York State Car Seat Laws: What You Need To Know

Car accidents can cause fatal injuries to both adults and children. Motor vehicle collisions account for almost 20% of all child deaths in the United States. According to the CDC, nearly half of all child restraint systems in the United States are utilized incorrectly. As a result, New York State has strong child seat safety laws in place to reduce the number of children killed in car accidents. All children under the age of eight must travel in a restraint system that is appropriate for their age, weight, and height.

New York State Car Seat Laws What You Need To Know
New York State Car Seat Laws: What You Need To Know. Contact Us to Get Help!

Are child safety seats and child restraint systems required in New York State?

All children under the age of eight must travel in a suitable child restraint system. To effectively select a kid restraint system, parents must consider their children’s age, weight, and height. The manufacturer’s specified height and weight requirements for the youngster must be met to ensure the kid’s safety. All child seats have to meet the federal safety standards. These are some of the most common child restraint systems used:

Infant seats

This type of seat must always be installed in the vehicle’s back seat. Furthermore, the seat must be positioned so that it faces backward. This child restraint system is appropriate for children weighing less than 22 pounds and measuring less than 25 inches in length. Typically, these seats are made up of two parts: the base and the carrier. The base is typically kept in the vehicle at all times, and the carrier can be removed from the base to be used outside the vehicle.

Child safety seats

These seats are typically used for infants and toddlers weighing under 40 pounds. Although it is not required by law, these seats should be installed facing backward to provide additional protection to the child in the event of a crash. As the child grows, the convertible seat can be positioned forward, but it must remain in the vehicle’s back seats.

Booster seats

Children from 4 to 8 should travel in a booster seat. These seats should be used by children weighing 40 to 80 pounds and no taller than 4’9″. 

What is a booster seat?

A booster seat is a car seat that does not have a harness. It lifts a child so that the lap and shoulder belts fit properly. When a child is too big for a car seat but not big enough for an adult seat belt, they should use a booster seat. 

Why does my child need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat?

Kids between the ages of 4 and 8 are typically too small to utilize a standard adult seatbelt. In the event of an automobile collision, seat belts are designed to protect the stomach, head, and spine. If the child’s seat belt does not fit correctly, it will not protect them as well as it should. The proper usage of a booster seat can dramatically lower your child’s risk of incurring a major injury.

new york state car seat laws
Greenberg & Stein | New York State Car Seat Laws | Contact Us to Get Help!

What should I consider when choosing a booster seat for my child?

Choosing the right booster seat for your child is crucial. These are some things that you should keep in mind before buying one:

  • Check that the booster seat does not protrude past the edge of the car seat.
  • Ensure that the vehicle seats do not interfere with the booster seat. Headrests might sometimes affect the booster. There are different types of booster seats, some will fit better in your car depending on their design. 
  • The booster should not tilt or move from the car seats.
  • Do not use booster seats if your car only has lap-only seat belts in the back seats. 
  • Make sure that your kid fits in the booster and they meet the height and weight requirements. 

If you are planning on buying a booster seat, check with the seller if you can put it in your car before purchasing to make sure it will fit appropriately. 

What if my vehicle has only lap-only seat belts in the rear seating positions?

In the back sitting positions, certain vehicles only have lap-only seat belts. If this is the case, your child should not travel in the booster with only a lap belt. The best option is to purchase a larger kid safety seat where your youngster can fit.

When is my child big enough to safely use the seat belts without a booster seat?

There is no set age at which children should begin wearing adult seat belts because it is determined by their proportions. When children reach the age of 10 or 12, they are usually no longer in need of a booster seat. Check to see whether your child meets the following requirements to cease using a booster seat:

  • When the child sits in the car, their back should rest completely against the back of the seat, and their knees should be comfortably bent over the front edge of the seat.
  • The lap belt should cross over the upper legs or hips. 
  • The shoulder belt should sit on the kid’s shoulder or collarbone.
  • When the child wears the seatbelt, it should not touch their face, neck or stomach. 

What Are the Penalties for Violating NY Car Seat or Seat Belt Laws?

A seat belt or car seat infringement is punishable by a fine of up to $50. If the infraction is for a child under 16 years old, the driver faces a maximum punishment of $100 and three driver violation points.

In the event of a car accident, poor use of child restraint systems can result in significant injury to children. If one of your children was harmed as a result of a defective car seat or the negligence of another driver, do not hesitate to contact an attorney. At Greenberg & Stein P.C., we are dedicated to assisting our clients in recovering fair compensation after being involved in an automobile accident. We can assist you by examining your case. Call us at 212-681-2535 to set up a free consultation with one of our lawyers to go through your situation.

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