It is stated on the official website of New Jersey that all children under the age of 2 years and 30 pounds are expected to be secured in a rear-facing seat equipped with a 5-point harness. 

According to the figures compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1,053 (3%) of the 36,096 road deaths in the United States in 2019 were children ages 14 and younger. In August 2021, an accident occurred in Westville, New Jersey. 

This article will present to you all the necessary information you need to know regarding New Jersey’s Car Seat Laws. This article will serve as your guide in safeguarding your child and obeying the law. 

Car Seat Laws in New Jersey

Children under the age of eight who weigh less than 80 pounds must be securely restrained in an authorized child safety seat, according to New Jersey law. The type of seat and the direction it should face is determined by the child’s age and weight. 

Children above the age of eight and weighing more than 80 pounds must wear a properly fitted and secured safety seat belt. 

There are additional and specific restrictions for newborns and small children, such as whether they must be fastened in a forward-facing or rear-facing car seat and where they must be situated in the vehicle. 

Though it is not required by the law, utilizing a tether is critical for keeping your child safe in the case of an accident.

Most modern vehicles include a LATCH mechanism that anchors your car seat to the vehicle and keeps a forward-facing car seat from tipping forward. While installing your car seat, consult your owner’s handbook for instructions on how to utilize the anchor and tether systems properly to avoid any conflict in the future.

Baby Car Seat Regulations in New Jersey

Babies under the age of two must be strapped in an authorized rear-facing child safety seat with a five-point harness in New Jersey (unless they weigh more than 30 pounds).

AgeNewborns to 2-year-olds
WeightUp to 30 pounds
Car Seat TypeInfant-only seat OR Convertible in a rear-facing position
Seat DirectionStrictly Rear-facing
Harness StrapFive-point harness system

When correctly worn, a five-point harness provides the best potential protection for newborns and small children in the case of a collision. These harness straps go around the child’s shoulders, across the hips, and clasp between the legs. 

However, it’s crucial to note that your unique car seat manufacturer may have a different height or weight restriction than what New Jersey law requires. You’ll want to make sure your child hasn’t outgrown their car seat since a poorly fitting car seat may provide less safety.

New Jersey’s Car Seat Regulations for children aged 2-4

As your kid outgrows their infant car seat, you’ll need to either modify the position of the seat (if it’s a convertible or all-in-one) or buy a seat that’s intended for your growing child. 

Children aged two to four, weighing 30 to 40 pounds, must be fastened in a rear-facing child safety seat with a five-point harness until they reach the seat’s top limitations for rear-facing placement. 

At that stage, the child must be fastened in a five-point harness forward-facing child safety seat.

Age2-4 years old
Weight30-40 pounds (depending on the seat manufacturer)
Car Seat TypeConvertible or 3-in-1
Seat DirectionRear-facing or front-facing (depends on the seat’s limits)
Harness StrapFive-point harness system

 

In New Jersey, children must continue to follow the baby and small child recommendations until they are eight years old and 57 inches tall. They can transfer to a belt-positioning booster seat if they outgrow their car seat due to the higher height and weight limitations. 

Hence, if your car seat manufacturer suggests that you go on to the next stage and adjust the position of the car seat or transfer to a booster seat, you can deviate from the age and height limits in New Jersey.

New Jersey’s Booster Seat Laws Regulations

In New Jersey, children are required to remain in their car seats for as long as possible, and the age standards for moving from a car seat to a booster seat are older than in many other states. Yet, the law allows you to avert from the suggested car seat according to the law and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your car seat. 

Children aged four to eight must be restrained in a car seat until they exceed the seat’s top height and weight restrictions, at which point they must be restrained in a belt placement booster seat until they are eight years old and 57 inches tall.

It is recommended to keep your child in their forward-facing car seat for as long as possible since it is safer and more secure than a booster seat and provides the best protection in the case of a car accident. 

To guarantee the safest travel for a younger passenger, always install your booster seat in the back seat of your car.

Age4-8 years old
Weight40-100 pounds (check booster seats’ recommendations)
Car Seat TypeBelt-positioning booster seat
Seat DirectionFront-facing 
Harness StrapMust be used with both a lap belt and shoulder belt (if both are available)

 

When Can You Stop Using Booster Seats in New Jersey?

Children under the age of eight must be restrained in a child safety seat or belt-positioning booster seat in New Jersey. When a kid reaches the age of eight and is at least 57 inches tall, they are no longer required to use a booster seat. 

The law does, however, require that children above the age of eight be securely fastened with a seat belt. If the child is older than eight, but the seat belt does not fit properly, they should remain in the booster seat for a little longer.

A correctly adjusted seat belt should sit tightly over the top of the child’s thighs rather than across their stomach. 

Comparing the lap belt to the child’s shorts or trousers pockets is a simple way to determine if it is in the proper place. A correctly placed lap belt crosses the area of the pants pocket. The shoulder strap should be securely fastened over the child’s shoulder and chest, not around their neck or face. 

If the belt is not properly positioned on their body, it will not protect them effectively, and the belt itself may cause the child many severe injuries during a crash.

Another element to consider is the child’s degree of maturity. Consider if they can be relied on to sit properly in the seat without fiddling with the seat belt or buckle and whether you are certain that they will not dislodge the buckle. If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to keep them in the booster seat until they’re a bit older. 

Seat Belt Fit Testing 

Before permitting a kid to fully move from a booster seat to an adult seat belt, the seat belt test should be performed on any child under the age of 13. Here are the four steps in performing the seat belt test:

Step One: First, have the child sit so that their back is all the way against the vehicle’s seat back. The child’s knees should bend naturally over the edge of the seat. If the legs are straight and the knees are not bent over the edge, the child is not tall enough and should continue to use a booster seat. If the knees are bent properly, move on to the next step. 

Step Two: Buckle the seat belt with the lap belt firmly across the upper thighs. If the lap belt is properly positioned across the thighs (in the pant pocket area), move on to step three. If the lap belt is across the stomach or not across the upper thighs, the child should stay in the booster seat. 

Step Three: Check the shoulder belt’s positioning. If it’s cutting into the side of the neck, across the neck, or on the face, the child should continue to use a booster seat. Never put the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the child’s back. If the shoulder strap is properly positioned across the shoulder or collarbone, move on to the last step. 

Step Four: Check the child’s posture while they’re sitting and throughout your car ride. If they can continue to sit in the correct upright position for the duration, they can safely ride with a seatbelt. If they start to slouch, lean, change the belt’s position, or notice that the belt has moved across their face, neck, or stomach, they should remain in a booster seat until they can pass all four steps of the seat belt fit test. 

You can check this video out to further understand New Jersey’s Car Seat Laws. 

What Age Can A Child Sit in the Front seat in New Jersey?

Children under the age of eight must be securely secured in the back seat of a vehicle, according to New Jersey law. 

There are no legal requirements for when a child over the age of eight can legally move to the front seat, but the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Center for Disease Control, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration all recommend that children stay in the back seat until they are at least 12 years old. 

The sole exception to this law is when employing a car seat in a pickup truck or other vehicle without a rear seat.

In that instance, the car seat or booster seat can be installed in the vehicle’s front seat, but it must be one without an airbag. The passenger airbag may be disengaged in most current automobiles, which is suggested if little children are placed in the front passenger seat. 

If you can’t disable the airbag, move the seat as far back as it will go. Never position a rear-facing child safety seat in a passenger seat with an active airbag since this might result in life-threatening injuries if the airbags explode in the case of an accident.

Even if a child is not in a car seat, it’s a good idea to recline the seat as much as possible in an airbag-equipped passenger seat. The force of airbag deployment can injure a young kid severely. 

All of these are the reasons why a child should ride in the rear seat.

New Jersey Taxi Car Seat Regulations 

All children traveling in passenger cars in New Jersey must be securely secured, either using the vehicle’s seat belt system or an authorized child safety seat or booster seat. These laws apply whether you’re driving your own car or using a cab. 

Whether traveling in a cab or utilizing a ridesharing vehicle such as Uber or Lyft, there are no exceptions to car seat requirements.

Taxi or Uber drivers are not required or expected to supply your child with a car seat. If you intend to travel through New Jersey, you must prepare ahead to ensure that you have the right child seat for your kid’s age, height, and weight. 

When riding on a school bus, children are not required to use car seats or booster seats. Nonetheless, lap and shoulder seat belts are provided on state school buses.

Penalties for Noncompliance with NJ’s Car Seat Laws

The car seat rules in New Jersey are more extensive than those in other states. In fact, they are often regarded as among the harshest in the country. 

When a motorist is pulled over, and it is discovered that they did not obey car seat laws, they must pay a fine. In New Jersey, police can issue a ticket with a fine of $50 to $75. 

These citations are issued to drivers who do not have car seats. These are also provided if the driver is driving with the incorrect automobile seat. Make sure to follow the New Jersey car seat rules to reduce your chances of paying these fines and facing penalties.

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. 

Additional Resources You May Find Helpful 

The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety organizes volunteer child seat checks across the state. 

At the checkpoints, child passenger safety professionals can inspect the child seat and its installation to ensure that it is appropriate and properly placed. Outside of regular checkpoints, you can seek assistance from your county’s child passenger safety coordinator.

Assistance with Free or Low-Cost Car Seats 

If you need help getting a kid safety seat, the first place to seek is your local WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) office. They could offer a free or low-cost car seat program, or they might be able to help you find other options in your town. 

Medicaid has assisted some families in obtaining a car seat. If you are presently enrolled in Medicaid, contact them directly for assistance in completing an application or request form.

If you are pregnant or have recently given birth, several private insurance companies can pay or assist you in obtaining a car seat. To enquire with your individual insurance company, use the customer care phone number shown on your insurance card. 

Other locations to look at include your local fire station or a police station. They may be aware of local options for car seat assistance, or at the absolute least, they may evaluate a used car seat to determine its safety. 

Local hospitals and churches frequently provide programs to assist low-income families in obtaining supplies needed for new newborns. If you ask around, you’re bound to discover someone who can steer you in the proper way.

Safe Kids New Jersey created a video posted on their YouTube channel to let parents know how to ensure the safety of their children by correctly installing these car seats. 

Additional Resources and Links 

Check out these additional organizations and links to know more about choosing and installing the correct car seat, as well as basic kid safety seat information. 

In Conclusion

In order to keep your child safe, New Jersey has enacted stringent car seat rules. Parents want the best and safest options for their children, and car seat rules help them achieve that goal. 

While traveling in a motor vehicle, all minors must be securely fastened. Children under the age of two and weighing less than 30 pounds must ride in a rear-facing infant seat in New Jersey. Until they are old enough to utilize a booster seat, little children must be strapped in an appropriate automobile safety seat.

Car seat legislation in New Jersey makes it easy to keep your children safe during a trip. Car seats protect your child from accidents and prevent them from moving about while the car is driving. With safety as your first priority, the New Jersey car seat rules will assist you in meeting your safety objectives. 

 

Author

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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Keren Simanova

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