The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cites car accidents as a leading cause of death for children ages one to 13.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, securing children in car seats, booster seats, and seat belts that are age- and size-appropriate significantly reduces the risk of serious and fatal injuries. In fact, when used correctly, an appropriate car seat reduces the risk of injury in a crash by up to 82% for children compared with seat belt use alone. Likewise, using a booster seat compared with a seat belt alone cuts the risk of serious injury by 45% for children between the ages of four and eight.
The State of New York has strict car seat and booster seat laws designed to protect children in the event of a car accident. The law requires children under the age of four to ride in a car seat, and all children between the ages of four and eight to ride in a child restraint system such as a booster seat. Children ages eight through 15 are required to wear a seatbelt.
New York car seat laws
In New York, all children under the age of four must ride in child safety seats.
The appropriate seat is determined by the child’s age, weight, and height. For instance, as of November 2019, New York requires children under the age of two to ride in a rear-facing child safety seat. This is to protect against the serous head, neck and spinal injuries that can occur when a small child is in a forward-facing car seat. The exception to this law is children under the age of two who exceed the weight and height restrictions of the child safety seat, as set by the manufacturer.
New York booster seat laws
All children between the ages of four and eight years old must ride in a child restraint system.
When your child outgrows their convertible or toddler car seat, it may be time for a booster seat according to New York law. The transition to a booster seat depends on the child’s age, weight, and height. Booster seats are designed for children between the ages of four and eight years old; weighing 40 to 80 pounds; and measuring less than four feet, nine inches tall.
The booster seat quite literally gives a child a “boost,” ensuring that the car’s shoulder and lap belt which were designed for adults, are positioned correctly for a child. You are required to use both the shoulder and lap belt with a booster seat.
Booster seats should not be used by children under the age of four. While the law only requires a child to ride in a booster seat until age 8, they can use a booster seat until the shoulder and lap belt fit the child correctly without the use of a booster.
Child Safety Seats You Should Use
Selecting the appropriate child safety seat or restraint system based on your child’s age, weight, and height is the first step. Once you have determined the correct type of safety system, you must be sure to purchase one that meets federal regulations.
New York law requires that all safety seats and child restraint systems must be certified according to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. Purchasing a child car seat or booster seat from a reputable manufacturer reduces the risk of buying a seat that does not meet federal regulations. The child safety seat or restraint system should include a label stating that it is “certified for use in all motor vehicles and aircraft.”
Experts advise against buying used car seats or child restraint systems, as they may be damaged or outdated and no longer safe.
The installation and use of a child safety seat or restraint system is just as important as making the selection of said system. They should be installed and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. New York offers child safety seat fittings stations where you can get assistance in installing child safety seats or have seats checked to be sure they are correctly installed.
Penalties for violating car seat laws in New York
The State of New York takes child safety seriously. As such, a driver can be stopped by law enforcement if it is suspected that a passenger is not properly restrained. If it is found that a child is not restrained in an appropriate child seat or safety restraint, the driver can be fined $100 with three driver violation points on their driver’s license if convicted.
Pulled over for violating car seat laws in New York?
If you received a ticket for violating New York car seat laws, car accident lawyer Bronx Evan W. Kohn can help. We are experienced in all aspects of New York car seat laws and are known for providing quality representation at affordable rates. Se habla español. Contact our office today or call us at (718) 409-5500 to schedule a free consultation.