NEW NY Car Seat Law: What Parents Need To Know

Safety car seat for baby with teddy bear

NEW NY Car Seat Law: What Parents Need To Know

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children under the age of 15, and most of them occur when safety restraints are used incorrectly. Here are the details New York parents should know about the new car seat law to keep their children safe in an accident.

About The Latest New York Car Seat Law

According to the NYS Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, the new rear-facing car seat law states that all children under the age of two must be secured in an appropriate rear-facing restraint whenever riding in a vehicle. This includes babies and toddlers riding on school buses.

News reports indicated that the new statewide child safety seat law went into effect on November 1, 2019. It aims to reduce the number of child road fatalities by enforcing stricter regulations. This law is the first in New York requiring a specific position for car seats when previous laws only required children under the age of four to be secured in a certified safety seat.

Common Types of Car Seats Used In Rear-Facing Positions

• Infant Seats
• Convertible Seats
• All-In-One Seats

These three types of car seats can be used in rear-facing positions. The differences between the products, as highlighted by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.), include:

Infant seats are only used for newborns and small babies. These seats are portable and connect into a separate base installed in the car. Babies typically will grow out of these seats by 9 months.

Convertible seats can be used for newborns but will last longer since they can be converted to a forward-facing position. These seats are installed into the vehicle with a harness and tether.

All-in-one car seats allow children to face backward and forward. They also have the capability to turn into a booster seat for older children.

Consequences of Failing to Properly Secure Children in Rear-Facing Car Seats

Current NYS driving laws state that motorists can receive up to a $100 fine and three violation points on their license upon conviction for violating a car seat law. However, the consequences of not securing a child properly in a rear-facing car seat can prove to be far worse.

Why do Parents Stop Securing their Children in Rear-Facing Positions

• Trying to make the child more ‘comfortable’.
• Believing their child is too large to be rear-facing.
• Believing their child is too old to be rear-facing
• To be able to hand things to a child from the driver’s seat easily.
• To reduce conflict and fighting with children who don’t like to sit backward.
• Lack of awareness regarding the importance of rear-facing seats and vehicle safety.

Experts continue to encourage parents that children are safer in rear-facing seats until at least two-years-old, if not longer. Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (A.A.P.) removed the age limit from their safety recommendations for how long children should remain rear-facing in a vehicle.

In a press release on August 30, 2018, the chair of the A.A.P. Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, Benjamin Hoffman, explained that “car seat manufacturers have created seats that allow children to remain rear-facing until they weigh 40 pounds or more, which means most children can remain rear-facing past their second birthday.”

Dangers of Placing Child in a Forward-Facing Position while Driving

When a car gets into an accident, everything within the vehicle continues to move at the same speed the car was going before it crashed. Children who are facing forward may be restrained, but their heads are not well protected and can be dangerously forced forward in an accident.

Rear-facing seats better protect the head, neck, and spine of a child in a crash, reducing the severity of injuries when they are properly secured.

Safety Best Practices for Parents who are Drivers

• Find the right car seat
• Understand the different types of car seats
• Learn how to compare car seats
• Learn how to properly install car seats
• Inspect car seats periodically

For some parents, turning their child around will be a simple switch. Others who are struggling with the transition can find plenty of guidance on rear-facing car seats through the N.H.T.S.A.

Car Seat Safety Video

Don’t take a chance with your child’s life. Watch this video for car seat safety tips and how to choose the right seat.

Contact us using our convenient online form or feel free to phone us in New York at 212-227-1212, or in Huntington/Long Island at 631-864-2429.


“Doctor: New rear-facing car seat law could save lives.” News 12 Long Island (Retrieved November 3, 2019)

“Child Passenger Safety (CPS) in New York State.” Governors Traffic Safety Committee. (Retrieved November 3, 2019)

“Car Seats and Booster Seats.” National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. (Retrieved November 3, 2019)

“Safety restraints.” New York Department of Motor Vehicles. (Retrieved November 3, 2019)

“AAP Updates Recommendations on Car Seats for Children.” American Academy of Pediatrics. (Retrieved November 3, 2019)