New York’s Child Car Seat and Seat Belt Laws

Vehicle child safety seat requirements, including age and height limits for different types of car seats.

New York has child safety seat and seat belt requirements that generally apply to all children younger than 16 years old. The type of restraint required varies depending on the age, weight, and height of the child and the guidelines of the child seat manufacturer.

Car Seats and Booster Seats

Under New York law, children who are younger than four years old generally must be secured in a child safety seat that meets federal standards (Federal law sets the safety requirements for all types of child safety seats). Also, the child must use the seat in a manner that's consistent with the recommendations of the seat manufacturer.

Rear-facing car seats. Children who are younger than two years old generally must be in a rear-facing safety seat. However, children who are in this age range can use a forward-facing safety seat if they exceed the height or weight recommendations for a rear-facing seat.

Front-facing car seats. Generally, children between the ages of two and four must be in a forward-facing car safety seat. However, children in this age range who exceed 40 pounds can use an appropriate booster seat.

Booster seats. Generally, children between the ages of four and eight must use a booster seat. However, children who are in this age range but are at least 100 pounds or taller than four feet nine inches can generally use a normal seat belt.

When Children Can Use Normal Seat Belts

Children who are at least eight years old, at least 100 pounds, or taller than four feet nine inches are allowed to be secured with a normal seat belt.

When Children Can Sit in the Front Seat of a Car

New York doesn't prohibit children from sitting in the front seat of a vehicle. However, it's generally safer for children to be seated in the back seat area of the vehicle.

Exceptions to Child Seat and Seat Belt Laws

Vehicle exceptions. Some of New York's child seat and safety seat rules don't apply to certain types of buses and taxis.

Medical exemptions. In certain circumstances, parents may be able to get exemptions from the normal child restraint rules based on a child's medical condition. However, the exemption must be certified by a physician.

Child Seat and Seat Belt Violations

Seat belt and child seat violations are civil offenses in New York. A ticket for this type of violation carries fines of $25 to $100 depending on the circumstances. For a first violation related to a child younger than eight years old, the court will waive the fine if the driver provides proof of acquiring an appropriate child seat prior to the first court date.

Child Seat Information and Resources

For more information about child safety seats, you can go to the Department of Mother Vehicles. 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.

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