New York’s Child Safety Seat and Seatbelt Laws

New York’s child safety seat laws and the penalties of a violation.

New York’s child safety restraint laws require all vehicle passengers younger than 16 years old to be properly and safely secured. The proper child restraint system varies depending on the child’s age, weight, and height. Below you’ll find more details on these requirements, as well as the penalties of a child restraint violation.

Child Seat Requirements

In New York, the driver is generally responsible for ensuring all occupants under 16 years old are properly secured. However, for a violation occurring in a for-hire vehicle (like a taxi), the parent or guardian is responsible and will receive the citation.

Children under two years old. A child who’s younger than two years old must be secured in a rear-facing harness in the rear seat.

Children two to four years old. Children who exceed the rear-facing weight limits or are younger than four years old must be secured in an appropriate forward-facing child safety restraint system.

Children at least four years old. Children who are at least four years old or 40 pounds can generally be secured in a booster seat in the rear seats of the vehicle. A child must remain in the booster until he or she is at least eight years old.

Children at least eight years old. Children who are at least eight years old, 4’9” tall, or at least 100 pounds are not required to use a child restraint system or booster seat. However, children must still be properly secured with a seatbelt.

Exceptions. Children with physician-certified conditions are exempt from the standard requirements. However, the physician must designate a medically-appropriate restraint to be used. School buses are also exempt from the normal requirements except when carrying children who are younger than seven years old.

Violations. A safety restraint violation for any child younger than 16 years old carries a $25 to $100 fine. The judge can waive the fine for a first offense if the offender obtains and installs a proper car seat. Violators who are operating a vehicle with a learner’s permit can also face a 60-day license suspension.

Recommendations

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles has published recommendations that might exceed the minimum child restraint requirements. However, all car seats should be used per manufacturer's directions.

Birth

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13+

Rear-facing

Forward-facing

Booster

Belt

More Information and Resources

For more information about child restraint systems, check the recommendations of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It’s also a good idea to register your car seat to be notified regarding recalls.

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