New Jersey has child safety seat and seat belt requirements that generally apply to all children. The type of restraint required varies depending on the age, weight, and height of the child and the guidelines of the child seat manufacturer.
Child safety seat requirements. Under New Jersey law, children who are younger than eight years old generally must be secured in a child safety seat or booster seat that meets federal standards. (Federal law sets the safety requirements for all types of child safety seats.) However, children in this age range who are at least 57 inches tall can be secured with a normal seat belt.
Type of car seat. Generally, there are three types of child safety seats: rear-facing, forward-facing, and boosters. New Jersey law requires children who are younger than two years old and weigh less than 30 pounds to be in a rear-facing seat. Children who are younger than four years old and weigh less than 40 pounds must be in a rear-facing seat until they outgrow the height and weight recommendations of the manufacturer. Once the child outgrows the rear-facing seat, he or she must be secured in a forward-facing child seat until he or she outgrows the height and weight recommendations of that seat. Then, the child must use a booster seat until he or she reaches the age or eight or at least 57 inches tall.
New Jersey law generally allows children who are at least eight years old or 57 inches tall to use a normal seat belt.
New Jersey law generally requires children who are younger than 8 years old to be seated in the rear-seat area of the vehicle unless there are no rear seats. However, children in rear-facing seats can't be seated in the front of a vehicle if the airbags are activated.
A child safety seat violation carries a fine of $50 to $100. Seat belt violations carry a fine of $20.
For more information about child safety seats, you can go to the Department of Law and Public Safety website. Also, recalls are occasionally issued for child safety seats. To find out about recalls, you can register with the NHTSA to receive recall information about the seat you have or search for recalls that have already been issued.