One of the things parents look forward to is turning their child’s rear-facing car seat around so that they can finally see them in the rear view mirror. As the children get older, parents move their children to a booster seat so they do not have to deal with a bulky car seat. Prior to September 1, 2015, New Jersey car seat law only required every child under the age of 8 riding in vehicles to be in either a car seat or a booster seat. It did not specifically provide when children can be turned to face forward or go into boosters. Parents usually went by the manufacturer guidelines/instructions. For instance, manufacturer guidelines regarding young toddlers often say that seats can be forward-facing when the child is 1 year old and is 20 pounds.
However, New Jersey recently changed its car seat law, which went into effect on September 1, 2015, and it is one of the most restrictive car seat laws in the country. Below are some of the changes parents and caretakers must abide by.
A child under age 2 and under 30 lbs. must be in a rear-facing car seat with a five-point harness in the back seat of a vehicle. There is no exception- even for toddlers who are tall and have their knees bent while in the car seat. The seat can only be turned around to face forward once a child is 2 years old or is 30 lbs.
A child under age 4 and 40 lbs. must be in either a rear-facing or a forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness in the back seat of a vehicle.
Children must be in a car seat or a booster seat in the back seat of a vehicle until they are at least 8 years old or 57 inches tall. Note that once a child is 8 years old or 57 inches tall, the child can use regular seat belts.
The law does not provide when a child over 8 years old can sit in the front seat; however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests children not sit in the front seat until they are 12 years old.
Violators will face fines between $50 and $75. In addition, parents and caretakers cannot say that they were following the manufacturer’s guidelines to get out of a ticket.
It is crucial that parents abide by the new car seat law. As car accident injury lawyers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, we know the devastating effects a car accident can have on a family with young kids.
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Mr. O’Brien is an experienced car accident injury lawyer who has helped countless injured victims. If you have questions about a car accident, feel free to contact Mr. O’Brien to schedule a FREE consultation. 877.944.8396