Last updated on November 12, 2019 at 08:48 am
Between weight limits, height requirements and age guidelines, it can be confusing to keep your child safe (and legal) when they’re riding in your car. For how long should the child’s seat be rear-facing? When do you switch to a booster seat? What if your car doesn’t have a back seat?
The NJ child car seat law — effective September 1, 2015 — has specific stipulations for securing children who are younger than 8 and less than 57 inches tall. Here’s how you can be safe and legal when young children are riding in your car, according to the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety:
- Children younger than 2 and under 30 pounds must ride in the rear seat of a car in a rear-facing car seat equipped with a 5-point harness.
- Children younger than 4 and under 40 pounds need to be fastened in the rear seat of a car in a rear-facing car seat equipped with a 5-point harness until they outgrow the top height or weight recommendations made by the car seat manufacturer. After that, children should be secured in the rear seat in a forward-facing child restraint equipped with a 5-point harness.
- Children younger than 8 and under 57 inches tall shall be secured in the rear seat of a car in forward-facing car seat equipped with a 5-point harness until the child outgrows the top height or top weight recommendations made by the car seat manufacturer. After that, they can be placed in the rear seat in a booster seat.
- Children older than 8 or more than 57 inches tall must be properly secured by a seat belt.
According to Carseatsexperts.com, It’s OK if your car doesn’t have rear seats, but there are a few things to keep in mind: children can ride in the front seat of a car in a car seat or booster seat. However, your vehicle’s passenger-side airbag must be shut off if the child is using a rear-facing car seat in the front seat.
There are fines for not following the NJ child car seat law, which can range between $50 and $75.
There are local resources to check if your child’s car seat is installed properly – and it may not be. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates half of child safety seats are incorrectly used.
Plymouth Rock in NJ wants to know what’s your experience with keeping young children safe while riding in a car? Share it and get the conversation started.