New York Raises Minimum Child Booster Seat Requirement to Age 8
Effective today, to decrease children's risk of injury or death in a motor vehicle crash, the upper age limit of New York States child restraint law is being raised to require that all children are restrained in an appropriate child restraint system while riding in a motor vehicle until they reach their 8th birthday. Since March 27, 2005, this law applied to children aged 4 to 6. Before then, the law required children in this age group to use only adult safety belts. New Yorks occupant restraint law is set forth in section 1229-c of the Vehicle and Traffic Law: Operation of vehicles with safety seats and safety belts. The impetus for the change in the law comes from a study released this past October 19 in Pediatrics by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The study found that when considering all crash directions and vehicle model years, children who used booster seats were 45 percent less likely to suffer injuries than children who were using the vehicle seat belt. Children involved in side-impact crashes saw the greatest reduction in injury risk. The results also indicated that in this age group, booster seats without a back are just as protective as those with a back. Most kids prefer backless booster seats because they look less like a "baby" car seat. Researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Center for Injury Research and Prevention studied more than 7,000 children ages 4 to 8 involved in real-world crashes between 1998 and 2007. Other highlights of New York State's occupant restraint law:
- In the front seat, the driver and each passenger must wear a seat belt, one person per belt. The driver and front-seat passengers aged 16 or older can be fined up to $50 each for failure to buckle up.
- Every occupant, regardless of age or seating position, of a motor vehicle being operated by the holder of a Class-DJ Learner Permit, a Limited Class-DJ, or Class-DJ Driver License must be restrained by a safety restraint.
- Each passenger under age 16 must wear a seat belt or use an appropriate child safety restraint system. The restraint system must comply with the child height and weight recommendations determined by the manufacturer. Depending on the size of the child, the restraint system may be a safety seat or a booster seat used in combination with a lap and shoulder belt.
- The driver must make sure that each passenger under age 16 obeys the law. The driver can be fined $25 to $100 and receive three driver license penalty points for each violation.
- Seat belt use is not required in taxis or livery vehicles, emergency vehicles, 1964 or older vehicles, or by passengers in buses other than school buses (seat belt use may be required by the school district). Rural letter Carriers are also exempt while they are delivering mail.