In most states, restraining a child is not an option. It is the law. Understanding the New York state child car seat laws will do more than just help drivers avoid penalties. It could protect a child from serious injury or even save a life.
What You Need to Know Before Buckling in Your Child
According to the New York state child car seat laws, all children must wear a seatbelt or use a child safety restraint system that is in compliance with weight and height manufacturer recommendations. The restraint system could include a safety seat or a booster seat used in conjunction with a lap and shoulder belt.
Child restraint systems are not intended for use in the front seat. The child safety seat laws in New York say children under the age of 12 aren’t prohibited from sitting in the front, but it’s recommended they don’t.
Child Safety Seat Laws by Age
Child safety seat laws dictate that children younger than age four must use a federally approved child safety seat. It’s attached using a seatbelt in the vehicle or the universal child restraint anchorage (LATCH) system. The LATCH system relies on lower anchors and tethers for securing the child, instead of a seatbelt.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently changed the child safety seat laws’ LATCH rules. If the combined weight of the safety seat and child is 65 pounds or greater, parents should use the seatbelt to secure the child, not the lower anchors. These rule changes don’t affect the tether strap.
For children younger than four who weigh more than 40 pounds, there is an exception to the child safety seat laws. Instead, the child can use a booster seat with lap and shoulder belt.
Children ages four through seven can use a child restraint system under certain conditions. The child and restraint system must meet the manufacturer’s recommendations for height and weight. Otherwise, they should use a booster seat with lap and shoulder belt.
An exception to NY state children’s car seat laws is when a child in this age group weighs more than 100 pounds or is taller than 57 inches. Then the child can use the vehicle’s seatbelt. A proper fit is when the child can sit straight up with his/her back against the seat. The knees should feel comfortable when bent over the seat.
The lap belt should go across the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt should cross the child’s chest and shoulder. It should be snug but comfortable. New York child car seat law recommends that the belts hit these places so that internal injuries to the throat or stomach don’t occur in the event of an accident.
Penalties for Violations of the New York State Child Car Seat Laws
New York is a primary enforcement state. Law enforcement can issue a citation when a child isn’t secured in a safety seat, regardless of whether or not the driver violated another traffic law, such as speeding.
Violations of the New York child car seat law could result in fines up to $100 and a loss of three points on the driver’s license.
When a Defective Child Safety Seat Fails to Protect a Child
Despite New York child car seat laws and drivers doing everything possible to protect passenger children, accidents sometimes happen. When they do, you reply upon the safety seat to prevent injuries, but sometimes they cause injuries. That can happen when something in the design or manufacturing of the car seat is defective.
When this happens, it’s important to understand your rights and legal options in regard to New York car seat laws. An attorney can determine if there is a case and who could be liable for injuries sustained. In most circumstances, it is the manufacturer, but other parties involved in the chain of distribution could be responsible as well.
Compensation in a product liability case could address medical bills incurred in accidents where drivers adhered to New York state kids’ car seat laws. Other losses such as pain and suffering, disability, mental anguish, and more can be awarded as long as the driver obeyed New York state child auto seat laws. Don’t delay contacting an attorney if a child has been hurt. There is a limited timeframe to file a personal injury claim, so call Gacovino, Lake & Associates as soon as possible: 800-550-0000.