If you live in the state of New York, have children or regularly transport children in your vehicle, you need to be aware of the New York car seat laws.

According to information posted on the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website, under New York law, all children under the age of four must ride in safety seats. While the law used to mandate that children ride in safety seats until the age of seven, the law was changed effective November 24, 2009 to now mandate children ride in safety seats until the age of eight years old.

In addition, the safety seats and child restraint systems used must be certified according to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213.

What is an appropriate child safety restraint system?

Using the proper child safety restraint system for your child until he or she reaches their eighth birthday, keep the following in mind:

  • The child safety restraint system must be the size and weight requirements for the child based on both the Federal requirements and the recommendations of the manufacturer.
  • The system can be a child safety seat, a harness, a vest, or a booster seat attached with the vehicle seat belt system, but not the seat belt alone.
  • The child safety restraint system should not be used in the front seat of the vehicle.

There are different types of child safety seats.

  • Infant seats – These are normally used for infants weighing 22 pounds or less, and are 25 inches or less in height. Infant seats should always be in the back seat of the vehicle and should be positioned so they are rear-facing.
  • Convertible child safety seats – These are normally used for infants and toddlers that weigh approximately 40 pounds or less. For infants, keep the convertible seat rear-facing, while toddlers can be in the forward-facing position in the rear seat. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to adjust the seat as the child grows. Keep in mind that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends the child continue to face the rear as long as possible, up to the height and weight limits specified by the manufacturer.
  • Booster seats – These are for children who have outgrown the convertible seats. Booster seats are for children aged four to eight years old, weigh 40 to 80 pounds, and are less than four feet, nine inches in height. Booster seats can be used until the adult seat belt correctly fits the child. Be sure to always use both the lap and shoulder belt with a booster seat. Never use the lap belt alone with a booster seat.
  • Built-in car seats – Some vehicles have built-in car seats that fold away from the standard car seats. Do not use built-in seats for infants.

Penalty for failure to comply

Violators of New York car seat laws (and safety belt laws) are subject to a fine of up to $50. If the violation is for a person under the age of 16, the driver receives a maximum fine of $100 and three violation points upon conviction.

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