New Jersey Car Seat Laws
Car seat laws in New Jersey are important in order for parents to ensure the highest level of safety for their children each time they drive. The booster seat laws in the United States vary from state to state, but New Jersey residents and visitors should understand which laws pertain to them. For instance, at what point does a child graduate from a rear facing car seat to a forward-facing seat?
There are four different types of car seats available all ranging in intended use for children of varying ages. Parents should know which kind of seat fits their child according to the seat manufacturer’s guidelines. Failure to properly secure a child in a vehicle can result in the driver receiving a traffic ticket. Additionally, a car seat will not function properly if it is not installed correctly. To find out installation tips, as well as how each car seat functions, continue reading below.
What are the car seat laws in New Jersey?
The car seat laws in New Jersey are quite comprehensive in terms of the age, weight and height recommendations for children. In order to meet the NJ car seat safety guidelines, every child riding as a passenger in a vehicle younger than eight years of age or shorter than 57 inches tall must be secured in the rear seat of a vehicle. Additionally:
- Any child under the age of 2 and under 30 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing child seat equipped with a 5-point harness.
- Any child under the age of 4 and 40 pounds must be secured until they reach the seat manufacturer guidelines for height and weight. Then, the child must be secured in a forward-facing seat, restrained as necessary.
- Any child under the age of 8 and 57 inches must be restrained in a rear-facing, forward-facing, or booster seat as per the height and weight requirements.
- Any child over the age of 8 or 57 inches in heights must be secured by a seat belt.
These regulations are in place to help keep children safe while riding in a vehicle, especially in the event of an auto accident.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in New Jersey
New Jersey car seat guidelines are some of the strictest rules in the nation. When a driver is pulled over and found guilty of not following booster seat regulations, he or she will be subject to fines. Police have the right to issue a $50 to $75 ticket to motorists who have no car seat or the wrong car seat in place. In order to avoid paying traffic tickets penalties and fines, follow New Jersey car seat rules as proposed.
Types of Car Seats
With multiple kinds of car seat options in New Jersey to choose from, some drivers may become overwhelmed when finding the right one. However, it is best to understand the four types of seats that are available for purchase. The four seat options available are broken down for children depending on their age, height, or weight requirements, including:
- A rear facing car seat for newborns up to three years of age depending on the height and weight requirements as per the seat manufacturer.
- A forward facing car seat for children one to three years of age who meet the height and weight requirements as per the seat manufacturer. Forward facing seats come with a harness and tether.
- A booster seat for children four to seven years of age who outgrow the harness and tether.
- Seat belts for children who outgrow the booster seat height and weight requirements.
The best car seats available are often the seats that have the highest safety rankings. While there are many brands on the market today, the safest car seats available include brands such as Evenflo, Graco, Britax, Safety 1st, Cybex and Nuna.
Car Seat Installation Information
New Jersey car seat safety recommendations are intended to keep children as safe as possible in a moving vehicle. However, without proper installation techniques, a car seat’s safety will be less than adequate. Car seat installation is imperative in order to create the highest level of safety for a child. Parents who are new to child seat installation or who are second-guessing anything can take the vehicle to a New Jersey seat inspection station in order to have certified technicians verify proper installation. However, local MVC offices in NJ will not be able to assist in the installation process.
Before visiting the inspection locations throughout New Jersey, a few important tips to consider include:
- Reading the car seat manufacturer’s manual
- Reading the specific vehicle’s child safety manual
- Verifying that the specific seat fits in the brand and style of vehicle
- Making sure the seat does not move more than one inch from side to side, or front to back
- Making sure the rear-facing seat is installed at the proper reclining angle