Car Laws & Safety

New Jersey Car Seat Laws [2021 Requirements & Changes]

The New Jersey car seat laws are comprehensive when it comes to the age and weight of the child. This is done to avoid confusion when riding with your child in the car. 

New Jersey car seat law requires children under 2 and under 30 pounds to be rear-facing. Children under 4 and 40 pounds must be in a car seat, forward-facing, with a five-point harness. Children under eight but smaller than 57 inches need to be in a booster seat. 

Once the child gets older than 8 years old, or taller than 57 inches, they may sit with a seat belt. The child must always stay in the back seat for safety reasons. 

Let us take a closer look at the new Jersey car seat laws to help us follow them properly. 

NJ Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

New Jersey car seat laws require infants under the age of two to use a rear-facing car seat. If the child is less than 30 pounds, they must use these car seats as well. 

The parents do have some discretion for which car seat they choose to use. However, it must fit the child and come with a five-point harness. 

While it is best to keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible, New Jersey law states until two years old. There are several different types of seats that make this easy as your child grows. 

New Jersey Forward-Facing Seats Laws 

New Jersey car seat laws allow toddlers over 2 years old to use a forward-facing seat. The child must weigh a minimum of 40 pounds as well. 

You may choose to keep your child rear-facing, even if they are older than two. If the child is still under 30 pounds, they should remain rear-facing for their safety. 

When moving your child to a forward-facing seat, ensure they fit into the chosen car seat well. The five-point harness is still valuable and should be used at all times. 

The child must stay in the car seat until they are four years old and 40 pounds. Once they reach both these limits, they may change to a booster seat. 

While forward-facing, the child must be in a car seat with a five-point harness. Most infant and toddler car seats are designed with this in place already. 

New Jersey Booster Seat Laws 

New Jersey booster seat law allows children to move to a booster seat when they are younger than eight. However, the child must exceed the recommendations of the forward-facing seat for safe use. 

For most children younger than eight and below 57 inches, it is recommended to stay in a car seat. If the child no longer fits or is above the recommendations, they can transition. 

This part of the law depends on your child and the car seat you choose. If your child is tall, they may transition to a booster seat faster. Shorter children may need to stay with the car seat a little bit longer. 

Transition into a booster seat with a back connected. This helps the seat belt maintain proper adjustment on the child to keep them secure. 

NJ Seat Belt Laws 

If the child is younger than eight but is taller than 57 inches, they can use a seat belt. They must use the seat belt in the back of the car. 

Many booster seats work even for taller children. You may decide to let your child stay in a booster seat until they are eight for added safety. 

NJ Seat Belt Laws 

For taller children, only when taller than 57 inches, it is safe to move them to a seat belt. New Jersey focuses more on height than weight or age. Any child who reaches this height may use the seat belt. 

Once the child reaches age 8, they may use a seat belt. Some parents continue to use the booster seat, but it is up to your discretion. 

The child must wear a seat belt at all times and remain in the back seat. New Jersey law does not stipulate when a child may move to the front seat. For all children, it is always safer in the back. 

Uber, Taxis, and Buses

The New Jersey car seat laws are in effect whether you drive the vehicle or use an Uber or Taxi. Uber and taxi drivers do not need to provide car seats. However, your child will still need to be inside the car seat.

If you plan to ride in a taxi or Uber with a young child, bring along an appropriate car seat to keep them safe. If they ride with another family, with grandparents, or any vehicle, the child must be in the proper car seat.

The only exemption to the car seat laws in New Jersey are school buses. As of early 2019, all school buses were required to install lap and shoulder belts inside. However, other car seat and booster seat laws are not required on school buses.

Proper Installation In The Eyes of The Law 

In addition to the rules above, parents must install the car seat properly. Even when the car seat follows the law, improper installation may put your child at risk. 

When installing the car seat, follow manufacturer instructions. Most car seats are similar and require the seat belt and an extra latch for security. 

You can check to see the car seat is in properly when you are done. Try to move it around. If the car seat moves more than an inch in any direction, you need to install it better. For booster seats, you can choose the type with a back or the ones without a back. The backs help to provide extra support for your child while placing the seat belt right. 

Booster seats without the backs are for older children who will transition to only a seat belt. When adding the seat belt, have it lay against the child’s’ lap and not their stomach. 

Other factors to consider when installing the car seat includes:

  1. Read through the manual for your car seat. This provides any recommendations the manufacturer wants you to follow. 
  2. Read the child safety manual for your specific vehicle. 
  3. Verify that the seat you want to use will fit the make and model of your vehicle. 
  4. Once the seat is in place, test it. If it moves more than one inch from front to back or side to side, tighten it in place. 
  5. Make sure any rear-facing seat is installed at a reclining angle. Your infant should not sit straight up in the car. If you installed the seat properly, this angle should be set. 

Properly installing the car seat makes it easier to have peace of mind while driving. Your child will stay safe, even if an accident occurs. 

Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations

The New Jersey car seat laws are more comprehensive than other states. In fact, they are seen as some of the strictest in the country. 

When a driver is pulled over and it is found they did not follow the car seat laws, they need to pay a fine. New Jersey allows police to issue a ticket with a fine between $50 and $75. 

These tickets are given for motorists with no car seats. They are also given if the motorist has the wrong car seat in their vehicle. To limit your risk of paying these fines and dealing with penalties, follow the New Jersey car seat laws. 

These laws are the minimum a parent must follow to be in compliance. Parents may choose to delay a transition if they feel it will keep their child safer. 

Conclusion

New Jersey Car Seat LawsNew Jersey has chosen strict car seat laws to keep your child safe. Parents want the best for their children and these car seat laws help them do that. 

Following the New Jersey, car seat laws make it easier to keep your child safe. Car seats keep your child safe from collisions and prevent them from moving around while the vehicle is moving. 

With safety as your number one concern, the New Jersey car seat laws will help you reach your goals of safety. 

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

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