NJ Law Changes Effective September 1, 2015

Birth to age 2: A child under age 2 and under 30 lbs. must be in a rear-facing car set with a five-point harness. That means toddlers who are tall or have long legs must remain rear-facing until age 2 even if their knees are bent and their feet are pressed againsst the back seat of the car.

Ages 2 to 4: A child under age 4 and 40 lbs. must remain in either a rear-facing or a forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness in the back seat of the vehicle.

Ages 4 to 8: Children must remain in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat of a vehicle until they are at least 8 years old or 57 inches tall. Once they reach that age or height, they can use the regular adult seat belts.

Ages 8 and above: A child age 8 and older can sit in a regular seat using a seat belt. However, the New Jersey law does not specify when children over age 8 can move from the back seat to the front seat. The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children not sit in the front seat until age 12

Front seats: If a vehicle doesn't have a back seat (like a pickup truck or a sports car), New Jersey's law says a child can ride in the front seat in a car seat or a booster seat. But the vehicle's passenger-side airbag must be disabled or shut off if a baby or toddler is using a rear-facing car seat strapped into the front seat of the vehicle. The force of air bags can injure small children if they deploy.

Fines: The fines for violating New Jersey's car seat law are currently $10 to $25. Under the revised legislation, they are going up to $50 to $75 in September. The law does not say how Police would verify the age, height or weight of a child when issuing a ticket.

Exemptions: You can no longer get out of a ticket by claiming in Court that you were following the manufacturer's weight and age recommendations for your child's car seat. That provision was removed from the new version of the law.

Need help? Every county in New Jersey has one or more child safety seat checkpoints where parents and caregivers can get free help determining which seat they need, how to install it and how to adjust it to fit their child. A schedule is posted on the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety website

 

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