Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Big Changes to the NJ Car Seat Law: What You Need to Know

How do the changes in the NJ car seat and booster laws affect you? Here's what you need to know about the rules for rear-facing car seats and booster limits.


Published:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Pop quiz: Do you know when you’re supposed to switch from a rear-facing baby car seat to a forward-facing one? How about how long you should keep your older children riding in a booster?

While the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children stay in rear-facing car seats until they are 2, the New Jersey law has only mandated they face backwards until the age of 1. But that's all changed, according to a new law signed this month. The new rules, which take effect September 1, require babies to stay in rear-facing car seats with five-point harnesses until they’re 2 years old and weigh 30 pounds. Older kids must stay in five-point harness car seats or booster seats until they’re 8 years old and 57 inches tall. The just-passed state law is now in line with guidelines set forth by the AAP.

And New Jersey lawmakers mean business. Parents and caregivers who don’t abide by the latest requirements will face fines of between $50 and $75.

So yes, even if your little one’s legs are long and seem to be squished up against the backseat, they still have to sit backwards in their car seats until they meet the law's age and size requirements. Once toddlers are turned around, they need to be in front-facing car seats with five-point harnesses until they’re 4 years old or weigh 40 pounds. They can then be moved to boosters.

What this means, New Jersey moms and dads, is that you can no longer claim you were following the height and weight requirements of your car seat manufacturer if you’re stopped for violating the law.

State legislators say the change was necessary because the old rules were too vague and outdated. The AAP and other experts say the chance of a small child dying in a car crash is reduced significantly by keeping him in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible.

The state’s front seat guidelines are different, too. If you don’t have a back seat, New Jersey law says that your child can ride in the front seat if they’re in a car seat or booster seat. The vehicle’s passenger-side airbag must be disabled or shut off if your child is using a rear-facing car seat strapped into the front seat. The force of the car’s airbags can seriously injure small children upon deployment.

More Like This:
New Study Says Parents Switch to Front-Facing Car Seats Too Soon
Why You Should Never Let Your Infant Nap in a Car Seat
Sunscreen Safety

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Cirque du Soleil is Coming to NJ Next Spring

The new VOLTA is coming to East Rutherford in March.

How to Make a Difference on Giving Tuesday

Next Tuesday is the perfect day to teach the kids the importance of giving back.

5 Style Subscription Boxes the Kids Will Love

Finding ultra-cool, well-made clothes that you and your kid love is hard. Enter subscription boxes, which are tailor-made for your little trendsetter.

Are Packed Schedules Overwhelming Our Kids?

How to know if your child is spread too thin between sports, classes and homework

The Best (and Easiest) Ways to Fight Winter Colds

How to keep sneezes, sniffles and the scratchy-throated misery of colds and flu at bay