What are the car seat laws in New York?

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Things to remember...
  • New York drivers must have child safety seats for kids younger than 8
  • New York law does not require kids in a cab or limo use a car seat
  • All cab and limo drivers must allow you to install a safety seat if you choose


New York is more than just Manhattan, which is something many people forget when they don’t live in the state. It’s much larger than just the city, and many areas in New York are like any other community in the rest of the country. It’s not all cabs and subways and public transportation.

Residents know this, but many visitors to this state are unaware what child safety seat laws look like.

Do you put your child in a car seat in a cab? Do you have to walk around the city with a car seat while you have your kids with you?

There are a lot of frequently asked questions of this nature, and many people could do with a lesson regarding proper use of child seats, laws, and even fines for not properly securing children in any vehicle. Make sure you are getting the best rate for the coverage you need by using our free insurance quote tool above! 

Child Safety Seat Laws in New York

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Child safety seat laws in New York are categorized by age. If you have a child younger than four, he or she must be in an approved child safety seat.

Children younger than one must be in a rear-facing car seat until their first birthday and until they reach 20 pounds.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all parents keep their children in a rear-facing seat until they are at least two, but this is not a state requirement in New York.

– Child Car Seat Height and Weight Requirements in New York State

Children older than one whose parents would like to turn them around to face the front must be in a car seat that fits children more than 20 pounds. They must remain in a car seat like this until they reach 40 pounds or more.

When a child turns four and reaches at least 40 pounds, they are permitted to sit in an approved booster seat with both lap and shoulder belts to secure them to the seat. Your child must remain in a booster until he or she turns 8.

New York law states it’s illegal for any children under 16 to ride in any vehicle without a seat belt.

There are no laws regarding the proper age a child must be before riding in the front seat of any car, but most medical professionals agree children should be at least 13 before they are permitted to use the front seat.

If you are in the city and using a cab or limo to get around, there are exemptions to the car seat rules.

New York law does not require children to sit in a car seat when they are in a taxi or a limo. The law does recommend you bring your own car seat when using taxis or limos, but they do not mandate you do this.

If your child is younger than 7 riding in a cab or limo, they may legally sit in the lap of an adult during the trip.

If you do want to keep your children safe in a limo or a cab, you should bring your own car seat. The law does mandate all drivers must permit you to install a child safety seat if you choose. They cannot tell you no or prevent you from using a safety seat in their vehicle unless they want to face fines.

If you hire a car service with a car seat already installed, just be careful. Used car seats are not considered safe if they’ve been in a prior accident.

All vehicle owners should have a car seat replacement addition to their car insurance policy. If you’re shopping around for a policy in New York, be sure to ask about car seat replacement value in the event of an accident.

You are legally permitted to ask this question of any cab or limo driver who offers a car seat of their own to you when you travel with your children.

Penalties for Driving Without A Car Seat in New York

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If you are stopped or involved in an accident in which your child is not properly buckled into the approved seat for his or her age and weight, you could get a ticket.

This ticket comes with a fine payable to the state, which must be paid promptly if you want to avoid further legal action.

The fine is $50 for anyone 16 or older without a proper seat belt. The fine is anywhere from $25 to $100 for kids younger than 16 not properly secured with a seat belt and safety seat.

If you are pulled over with a child younger than 16 not correctly secured in the car, the state adds three points to your license.

This can make your car insurance rates go up, it can label you as a risky driver, and it can cost you more money to handle.

Car seat safety is so important no matter where you live in New York.

Getting Auto Insurance Coverage in New York

If you are shopping for car insurance, be sure to ask about their replacement value.

You want your child in a safe seat no matter where you are in New York, and you certainly don’t want to pay fines because your kids are not properly secured in your car.

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