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Car Seat Safety

types of car seats

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of injury and death among people aged 1-34. Car seats and seat belts decrease this number.

All children must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system while riding in a motor vehicle, until they reach their 8th birthday.

An appropriate child restraint system is one that meets the child's size and weight recommended by the manufacturer. Children under the age of four must be restrained in a federally approved car seat when riding in a motor vehicle.

The safety belt in your vehicle is not designed for young children. A booster seat raises your child up so that the safety belt fits your child correctly and provides better protection.

Infants and Toddlers

Infant in rear facing car seatThe NYS Law requires children use a rear-facing car seat until their 2nd birthday. The best practice recommendation is to keep your child rear-facing to the maximum height and weight limits of a convertible car seat.

Children Ages 4, 5, 6 and 7

Children ages 4, 5, 6 and 7 must be properly secured in an appropriate child restraint system, one for which your child meets the weight and height recommendations of the child restraint manufacturer. If the weight of a child under the age of 4 exceeds 40 pounds, the child may be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system, allowing the child to use a booster seat.

Two kids in forward facing car seatsThe vehicle's safety belts are not defined as a child restraint system under this law, as safety belts are not designed for children under 4'9" and therefore, do not protect young children.

Continued use of a booster seat is recommended for children who are 8 years or older if they have not met the size requirements of the booster seat.

Children Ages 8-12

Children ages 8-12, who have reached the maximum height or weight limits for booster seat use may use a vehicle seat belt that has both a lap belt and shoulder belt. To use the seat belt, the child must be able to sit straight up against the vehicle's seat back with knees bent comfortably over the edge of the seat and feet touching the floor. 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.

All passengers regardless of seating position must use a seat belt.

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