New York’s Child Restraint Law is Changing!

4 Steps for Kids

BINGHAMTON, NYEffective Tuesday, November 24, 2009, all children must be in an appropriate child restraint in a motor vehicle until they reach their 8th birthday. An appropriate child restraint is one that meets the child’s height and weight recommended by the manufacturer. Safety belts are not considered an appropriate child restraint unless the child is taller than 4’ 9”. Safety belts are designed for adults not children. Young children who are placed in vehicle belts rather than booster seats are 59% more likely to suffer devastating injuries, including damage to the brain, liver, spleen and spinal cord. A booster seat raises your child up so that the safety belt fits your child correctly and provides better protection.

Remember driver’s can be fined if their child passengers are not properly restrained. The driver is held responsible for properly restraining child passengers under the age of sixteen, and can be fined a minimum of $25 up to a maximum of $100. The driver will receive 3 points on their driving record as well.

For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers should refer to the following 4 Steps for Kids guidelines for determining which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on age and size:

  1. For the best possible protection keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat.  At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until at least age 1 and at least 20 pounds.
  2. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at least age 1 and at least 20 pounds) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds).
  3. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds), they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually at age 8 or when they are 4’9” tall).
  4. When children outgrow their booster seats, (usually at age 8 or when they are 4’ 9” tall) they can use the adult seat belts in the back seat, if they fit properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest).

Remember: All children younger than 12 should ride in the back seat.           

Not sure if your car seat is properly installed? Please call Christine Muss at the Broome County Health Department at 607.778.2807 to set up an inspection appointment at the next Fitting Station. The Fitting Station is held twice a month and is located at the Broome County Sheriff’s Office. Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will be on site to help you with any of your child safety seat needs.


11/16/2009 - 11:32am