New York State has updated its child seat belt laws. As of November 1, parents are required to keep children under the age of 2 in a rear-facing infant or convertible seat. Previously, rear-facing was only required for children under 22 inches in length or less than 25 lbs.
The law also allows children under 4 years old who weigh more than 40 lbs. to use a booster instead of a convertible seat. Children under 8 are required to use a booster and are encouraged to use one for as long as it is practical and comfortable for the child. Those who are more than 4’9” tall or more than 100 lbs. are permitted to use a regular shoulder and lap seat belt without a booster.
The new seat belt law more closely tacks with that of New Jersey. In NJ, children under 8 years of age and 4’9” must use a booster seat. If the child is less than 2 years old and 30 lbs. he/she must be in a rear-facing seat. Children under 4 years of age or 40 lbs. should also remain rear-facing if the child seat they are using allows for it.
In both NY and NJ, a person driving a vehicle with no back seat can have the child in the front seat only if the above rules are adhered to and if the vehicle does not have a passenger-side airbag.
A ticket for an unrestrained or inappropriately restrained child in New York can cost up to $100 and result in 3 points on one’s license. Last year, police throughout New York State wrote nearly 160,000 seat belt tickets. Of those, 23,564 were for child seat belt violations (14%).