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Child Safety Seat Laws in New York State


    • According to the New York State Police (NYSP), child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury among infants and toddlers in passenger cars by 71 and 54 percent, respectively. NYSP data shows that, in New York, over 90 percent of child car seats are improperly used. GTSC warns that the law alone does not provide adequate protection. Other factors, such as the age and size of a child, and the type of seat and use of it, play a major role.

    New York State Law

    • Under New York State law, all motor vehicle passengers under the age of eight must be secured in an appropriate child restraint system. Children under four must use a child restraint system that is attached to a vehicle with a seat belt or vehicle anchor system, most commonly the LATCH method. Children under four who weigh more than 40 pounds can use a booster seat with a lap/shoulder belt combination. This same set-up applies to kids between the ages of four and seven. If a vehicle only has lap belts, it may be used in lieu of a booster seat with the lap/shoulder belt combo. All persons under 16 must be restrained by a safety belt, unless covered by the above-mentioned child restraint system regulations.


    • A fine of no less than $25, but no more than $100 results from violating sections of New York State law governing children under 16. For a first offense, the court will waive this penalty if the defendant provides proof that an appropriate child restraint system was purchased between the violation and court appearance dates. The law provides a fine of up to $50 if a driver or front seat passenger, 16 years of age or older, is not buckled up.


    • Individuals with physical disabilities, certified by a doctor, are exempt from New York's child safety seat laws. GTSC notes that taxicabs and public transportation buses are excepted from the law. New York law does call for school bus operators to secure children under four in an appropriate child safety seat.

    Proper Use

    • Generally, New York notes manufacturer's guidelines to determine the appropriate restraint system for a child. GTSC suggests infants remain in an infant seat until they are at least one year old and at least 20 pounds. GTSC advises the use of convertible seats for infants and toddlers. Set the seat as rear-facing for infants between five and 30 to 35 pounds. Convert it to forward-facing when a child is older than one and weighs between 20 and 40 pounds. Once the manufacturer deems a child too big for an infant or convertible seat, GTSC recommends a booster seat until a child reaches 4-foot-9-inches tall. The safest place for youth under 12, notes GTSC, is the back seat of a motor vehicle.

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