WHAT IS NEW YORK STATE'S OCCUPANT RESTRAINT LAW?
In passenger vehicles (cars, passenger trucks, RVs):
- The driver and all front-seat passengers must wear seat belts, one person per belt.
- Children less than 4 years old must be restrained in a child safety seat that meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213.
- Children less than 4 years old who weigh more than 40 pounds may be restrained in a booster seat with a combination lap and shoulder belt.
- Children ages 4, 5, 6 and 7 must be properly restrained in an appropriate child restraint system that meets the child's height and weight recommendations according to the child restraint manufacturer. Depending on the size of the child, it may be a safety seat or a booster seat.
- Back seat passengers up to age 16 must be properly restrained, either in the appropriate child restraint system or by the seat belt if at least age seven.
The violation penalty fine is $25 up to $100. The driver may be assessed 3 driver violation points if a passenger under age 16 is not properly restrained.
All children ages 12 and under should ride in the back seat properly restrained. It is not illegal under NYS law for a child passenger to ride in the front seat of a vehicle that has a passenger air bag, but it is dangerous. Recent studies show that air bags can cause serious or fatal injuries to infants, children or small adults that sit in the passenger-side front seat. It is also usually safer for a child of any age to ride in the back seat of any vehicle.
In other vehicles:
Children less than 4 years old must be restrained in a child safety seat when riding in a school bus. Some school districts may require seat belt use on school buses. Public transportation buses and emergency vehicles are exempt from the occupant restraint law.
What does "child restraint system" mean?
A child restraint system is any device, used in conjunction with safety belts, designed for use in a motor vehicle to restrain, seat, or position children. It may be a child safety seat, a harness with a vest or a booster seat. The vehicle's safety belts are not a child restraint system.
Fines for violating this new law may be up to $100.
BOOSTER SEATS ARE FOR BIG KIDS!
Who should use a booster seat?
Booster seats are the next step for children who have outgrown a forward-facing child safety seat; usually when the child weighs more than 40 pounds or is more than 40 inches in height. Children are now required by state law to ride in a child restraint device until their 8th birthday.
How do I use a booster seat?
- Booster seats, like child safety seats, must be installed correctly. It is important that you always read the booster seat instructions and your vehicle owner's manual carefully before using a booster seat.
- Booster seats must be used with your vehicle's combination lap and shoulder belts. Children should never place the shoulder belt behind their backs or under their arms. This would eliminate the protection for the upper part of the body and increases the risk of severe injury in a crash. In vehicles equipped with only lap belts, a child who ordinarily would use a booster seat should be restrained using only the lap belt.
- If all the combination lap and shoulder belt positions in a vehicle are already occupied by children using a booster seat, a child who ordinarily would use a booster seat should be restrained using only the lap belt.
- Always keep the booster seat buckled in, even when your child is not in it. During a sudden stop, an empty unbelted booster seat could fly around the vehicle causing injury to the driver or passengers.
What types of booster seats are there?
There are two major types of belt-positioning booster seats:
- Backless or low-back booster seats are used in vehicles with a high seat back in which the child's head can be supported by the vehicle seat back or head restraint.
- High-back booster seats are used in vehicles with a low seat back where there is no vehicle seat back or head restraint to support the child's head and neck.
All front seat passengers, regardless of age, must use a seat belt or child restraint.
New York is a primary enforcement state. An officer may stop your vehicle if the driver and passengers are not properly restrained.
For additional information on child passenger safety, visit the
Governor's Traffic Safety Committee's web site at
www.SafeNY.ny.gov and look for Child Passenger Safety.
NEW YORK STATE GOVERNOR'S TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMITTEE
Edited for the internet (11/09)