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Changes to Child Seat Laws in New Jersey

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Posted on September 21, 2016

The correct car seat for your child can be a lifesaver when installed and utilized accurately. The proper use of child care seats is the most effective method to protect children in the event of a car accident. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that infant and child car seats reduce the risk of infant deaths by 71%, and 54% for toddlers ages one to four.

In order to keep children safe in the event of a car accident, modifications and recommendations to car seat laws are necessary to coincide with new car safety technology and related research findings. New Jersey recently amended its current child car seat laws with changes in effect starting September 1, 2015.

New Jersey’s most important update to the car seat law complies with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendation that children remain in rear-facing car seats until the age of two. Keeping the car seat rear facing for as long as possible significantly reduces the risk of small children being fatally injured in car accidents, according to the AAP.

Car Accident Lawyers Explain New Jersey Child Car Seat Law Amendments

  • Two-year-olds and under that weigh less than 30 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing restraint system that has a five point harness
  • Four-year-olds and under that weigh less than 40 pounds must be restrained in a rear-facing five-point harness system until the child outgrows the manufacturer’s height and weight specifications OR a forward facing car seat that has a five-point harness
  • Eight-year-olds and children under 57” tall must remain in a five-point harness restraint system until they outgrow the manufacturer’s height and weight specifications.

Child car seats should always be placed in the middle of the vehicle’s back seat for the best possible protection. In the event that a car does not have a rear seat, the side passenger airbags must be disabled prior to placing a car seat in the front. Never place a rear-facing car seat near an airbag; the force of the airbag deployment will harm a child.

The state of New Jersey addresses child safety in car accidents as a top concern; therefore, it is important for parents to determine the age and size-appropriate seat for their child. In addition, correct installation and use is necessary in order to provide the best protection for a child. The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic and Safety found that three out of four child car seats are not properly secured or restrained. Refer to the manufacturer’s height and weight specifications and installation instructions when purchasing a child car seat.