Child Safety Information and Resources 2019 5-56-02


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Child Safety Seat Laws Ny

New York State law requires all front seat passengers to wear seat belts. Children under the age of 16 must wear seat belts when they are in the front seat or the back seat. Children under the age of four must ride in safety seats. See the information above about safety restraint systems required for children until their 8th birthday. The penalty for a seat belt or car seat violation is a fine of up $50. If the violation is for a person under the age of 16, the driver receives a maximum fine of $100 and three driver violation points upon conviction.

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Every child under age 16 in the vehicle must use a safety restraint. If under age four, he or she must be properly secured in a federally-approved child safety seat that is attached to a vehicle by a safety belt or universal child restraint anchorage (LATCH) system. A child under age four who weighs more than 40 pounds may be restrained in a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt. A child of age 4, 5, 6 or 7, must use a booster seat with lap and shoulder belt or a child safety seat (The child and safety restraint system must meet the height and weight recommendations of the restraint manufacturer.)

On April 1, 1982 New York State's first child passenger restraint law went into effect.  In 1985, New York State's mandatory seat belt law was enacted.  The seat belt law includes mandatory use of a federally-approved child safety seat for children under four years of age.   The focus of this page is on Child Safety Seats.  For information about seat belts and air bags, please visit our Seat Belts & Air Bags Page.

Your seat belt offers the most protection when you sit upright. Most seat belts easily adjust to allow some comfort and free movement until you need it for protection. To properly wear your seat belt, the lap belt portion should be tight but comfortable across your upper thighs at your hip joints and the shoulder belt should rest snugly across your chest and shoulder, away from your face or neck. Never place the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm. Improper use of a seat belt or shoulder belt can cause internal injuries in a crash.

A seat belt absorbs the force of impact in a traffic crash and reduces your risk of being killed or injured. It holds you securely to help prevent you from striking hard objects inside the vehicle while being tossed around. You are less likely to be thrown (ejected) through the vehicle's windshield or doors - and vehicle ejection usually results in death.

Exception: A child more than four feet nine inches tall or more than 100 pounds is allowed to use a seat belt that has both a lap belt and a shoulder harness. To use the seat belt, the child must be able to sit straight up against the vehicle's seat back with his or her knees bent comfortably over the edge of the seat. The lap belt should be placed low and tight across the upper thighs; the shoulder belt should rest tightly but comfortably across the child's chest and shoulder (collar bone) without touching the throat. If the seat belt does not fit properly, the child should use a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt.


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