Car Seat Laws

New York State Car Seat Laws & Regulations [Including 5 Boros]

New York State car seat laws are meant to help keep your child safe in a car. Following these laws is best for your child. 

New York State car seat laws require infants and younger children to sit in an approved car seat. Children four to seven must sit in a booster seat. And all children older than eight must use a seat belt. 

It is also best for children to sit in the back seat of the vehicle if they are younger than 13. All passengers in the front of the vehicle must wear a seat belt. All passengers under the age of 13 must wear a seat belt, even if they are in the back seat. 

What are the New York State Car Seat Laws?

New York State car seat laws are important to follow for the health and safety of your child. Accidents can happen, especially in the cities, and knowing how to keep your child safe is important. Some of the car seat laws required in New York State include:

Using a Rear-Facing Seat in New York

New York State law requires that all children younger than four should use the appropriate car seat. This will depend on the size and age of the child. 

The New York State law does not list out the exact age or weight requirements for children to be rear-facing or forward-facing. However, following the weight and height requirements on your car seat is the best way to work on this. 

Most car seats recommend that a child stays rear-facing until they are at least one year old and 20 pounds. Many car seats will be able to hold a child rear-facing for longer if you choose. 

Once the child reaches the upper height and weight limits on the car seat, the parent may choose to turn them around. Keeping your child rear-facing for longer is safest. This can help protect the neck and the head of younger children. 

Using a Forward-Facing Seat in New York

New York State law allows children ages 2 to 4 to sit in a forward-facing car seat. Once your child has outgrown the rear-facing seat, they may use a forward-facing seat instead. When this happens will depend on the type of car seat you choose. Many rear-facing car seats allow your child to sit this way until they are 35 pounds. 

Never turn your child forward-facing until they are at least one year old and 20 pounds. This helps keep them safe for longer. The child can then use a forward-facing car seat that will keep them safe. They should stay in this seat until they are four years old. 

Many forward-facing car seats can hold up to 50 pounds, with some holding as much as 65 pounds. Follow the height and weight maximums on the car seat you choose to use. 

Using a Booster Seat in New York State

New York State allows children who are at least four years old to sit in a booster seat. The child may only do this if their weight is higher than 40 pounds. If the weight of the child is under 40 pounds, they must stay in the proper child safety seat. Once the child turns four, the parent may choose to move the child to a booster seat. 

Children who are between the ages of four and seven may be in a safety seat or a booster seat. The choice will depend on what is most appropriate for the child’s size. 

Using a Built-in Car Seat

New York State car seat laws does allow children to be transported using built-in child seats. However, there is no standard for these so you must check the weight and height limits in your car owner manual before using. Never place an infant in one of these. 

Many of these built-in child seats are considered “combo” seats that will adjust for your child to grow. Always check the instructions that come with the car seat to see if they are right for your child. 

How Will I Know When My Child is Big Enough for the Seat Belts in My Car?

New York State car seat laws allow a child to move to a seat belt when they turn eight. The seat belt must fit according to the car manufacturer’s specifications before doing so.  Parents may choose to keep their child in a booster seat past the age of eight if they would like. 

When considering moving your child to a seat belt, make sure the belt will fit properly. The seat belt should fit across the lap of the child, and not the stomach. The shoulder belt must fit across the shoulders, not under the arm. 

Other Car Seat Safety Laws in New York State

New York State has several other car seat safety laws to follow. In addition to the weight requirements above, there are a few other recommendations to follow. All children who are younger than 12 should be in the back seat of the vehicle. It is not illegal to sit in the front seat if the child is younger than 12 though. 

For those who must transport the child in a vehicle without a backseat, it is not illegal to have the child in the front. It is more dangerous, especially if you leave the airbag turned on. 

Use the same car seat laws and recommendations for your child if they do need to sit upfront. Turn off the airbags on that side of the vehicle if possible. 

New York State Car Seat Laws for Infants

New York State car seat laws require infants to use the appropriate car seat while being transported in a vehicle. 

However, you can easily look at the recommendations on the car seat you would like to choose. Most car seats for children ages birth to one will be rear facing, with some being designed to hold children up to age two or three. 

Facing backward in the car is often the safest position for your child when they are firstborn. This helps add some extra protection and can keep the neck safe when driving.  Follow the instructions on the rear-facing car seat to ensure it is being used properly. The child should remain rear facing for at least a year and until they are at least 20 pounds. 

Many car seats can handle being backward for longer. Parents may choose to keep their child rear-facing until they are 2 or 3, and closer to 35 pounds. 

New York State Taxi Car Seat Laws

New York State car seat laws require that all taxi and Uber drivers wear a seat belt. This seat belt must remain on the whole time the vehicle is in motion. The state also makes the requirement that all passengers who are in the front seat and are above the age of 16 wear a seat belt as well. 

It is encouraged that all those who sit in the back of a taxi wear their seat belts to keep safe. It is required that children 16 and younger wear a seat belt, even in the back of the taxi. If you plan to bring your younger children to the taxi, you must bring your own car seat. The driver of the taxi or Uber must allow you to properly install the car seat. 

Taxi and Uber drivers are not required to provide a car seat, though some companies will if you call ahead. Parents are still responsible for properly restraining their children while riding in a taxi or Uber. 

Always install the car seat properly in the taxi or Uber before placing your child inside and riding. This will keep your child safe on the road. 

Can a Car Seat Be Used Next to an Airbag in New York State?

New York state law does not prohibit a child passenger to sit up front, even with an airbag that is fully equipped. This means that the car seat can be used in the front seat if necessary. 

However, this is not recommended by all car safety experts and pediatricians. Studies have shown that when an airbag is deployed, it can lead to fatal and serious injuries to babies, toddlers, and young children. 

Even some smaller adults may be injured when the airbag deploys. It is always safer to place children in the back of the vehicle until they are at least five feet tall. 

Airbags are safest for those who are over five feet tall, as long as they use a lap and shoulder belt as well. New York State law does require that all passengers who are in the front seat of a vehicle wear their seat belt. 

What are the Penalties for Violating New York State Car Seat Laws?

New York State does have penalties when violating the car seat laws. The penalty for violating the safety belt and car seat laws is a fine of $50. 

If this violation happens with a person under the age of 16 not being in a seat or belt, then the fine increases to $100. Three driver violation points will be added to the driver’s license if convicted. 

Remember that in New York State, all passengers under the age of 16 must wear a seat belt. All passengers in the front seat of the vehicle must wear a seat belt as well at all times. 

Authorities can pull over a vehicle if they suspect that a passenger or the driver is not restrained properly. Always use the proper restraints as listed above. 

Conclusion

The New York State car seat laws are a little more open to interpretation compared to those in other states. This may lead to a little confusion for parents who want to keep their children safe. 

However, the rules listed above should help parents understand how New York State laws work in regards to car seats. Following the recommendations on your chosen car seat may also help make things easier. 

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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