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According to CBS New York, 4,000 children were injured or killed in New York State in 2018 and this resulted in the 2019 expansion of car seat laws in New York State. The big change that took effect on November 1, 2019 was that babies need to sit in the rear-facing seats until they are 2 years old, as opposed to the law that preceded this that required infants to sit in the rear-facing seat if they are below 12 months.

New York joins other States such as Oregon and Ohio which has required babies under the age of 2 to use rear-facing car seat restraints. A few states such as Kentucky do not have age limitations but use the height of the baby to determine the car seat requirements for babies.

During a 2019 New York State child safety seat checkup, over 90% of the child restraints were being misused in some manner. The back seat is the safest place for a child to be when you are driving. Always make sure the child is appropriately restrained.

The New York State officials require all seats and restraints systems to be accredited as outlined under the Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standard 213. What else does the NY law require?

New York Car Seat Laws Front Seat

In New York, there is no law concerning children using the front seat. However, it is recommended that children of 2 years and below should travel in the back seat. By the time they are above2 years, the car’s seat belt should be able to fit properly and securely. As such, your child can sit in the front seat.

New York Car Seat Laws Rear-Facing

If your child is 2 years and below, the New York law states that your baby must sit in the rear-facing car seats. Also ensure that your baby is not using a second-hand child safety seats that could have expired or without some parts. Previously, infants of age 12 and above could use forward-facing seats but the new law that took effect in Nov.1, 2019 requires that all children under the age of 2 remain in rear-facing seats.

If you are the driver, ensure that you regularly check your baby’s car seats at local fitting or safety events to ensure children are properly restrained.

New York Car Seat Laws Forward-Facing

According to the New York law, children aged between two (2) to four (4) years and with a weight not exceeding 40 lbs. should be secured in a forward-facing seat. For more information and instructions concerning weight and height limits, check out the manufacturer’s info on the seat manual.

New York Car Seat Laws Taxi/Public Transport

New York State law requires all for-hire vehicles and taxi drivers, as well as the back and front seat passengers (16 years +) to wear seat belts. If you board a cab with a child, be sure to bring your own car seats, which taxi cab drivers must allow you to fix or install. According to Uber and Lyft websites, they are providing forward-facing car seat services to parents in New York City.

If you have a child aged 7 years and below, the law allows them to sit on an adult’s laps.

When it comes to car seat safety, public transport is and has been slightly tricky! First off, there is no law concerning such. Second, bus and subway car seats have no seat belts, which make it harder to use a child restraint. So, what should you do? Child safety specialists recommend parents and caregivers using public transport to use a combination stroller/car seat.

Booster Car Seat Laws New York

If your child grows too big to be accommodated into an infant or convertible seat, they can step up to a booster seat. New York State law requires children between 4 to 8 years to use booster seats, and they must weigh 40 lbs. to 80 lbs., with a height below 4 feet, 9 inches. . A child under age four who weighs more than 40 pounds may be restrained in a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt. Read more here.

Make sure you use the booster seat in combination with a shoulder and lap belt. Children should use booster seats for as long as possible before being allowed to use a regular seat belt. Ensure the booster seat is correctly installed and secured.

Recent Law Changes

In 2019, New York became the 10th State to increase the agre requirements of babies required to be seated in a rear-facing car seats.

Car Seat Replacement after Accident

If you are in new York, you should follow National Highway Traffic and Safety’s guidelines that Srecommend that car seats should be replaced following a moderate or severe crash. You can read more details on their website here.

To know whether you need to replace the car seat after an accident in any of New York State’s counties, read NHTSA guide above and follow manufacturer’s guidelines attached:


As such, refer to the recommendations given by the NHTSA: In order to ensure a consistent high level of children passenger safety, make sure car seats are replaced after a moderate or critical crash. If you are involved in a minor crash, replacement can be delayed for a while, but not ignored. How do you categorize a crash as minor?

It is when the car could be driven off the crash site, or when the door next to the car seat was undamaged. It also applies if no passenger in the car sustained any injuries in the crash, if airbags did not deploy following the crash, and there is no visible damage to the car seat.

CAUTION: Never use a car seat that has been entangled in a moderate or critical crash, and always remember to follow the instructions from your car seat’s manufacturer.

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