Every person riding in a car or truck needs his or her own seat belt, even your baby. New Jersey law requires that all children under 8 years old and 57 inches tall must use a child safety seat to prevent injury or death in an accident. The law further states:
- A child under the age of 2 years and 30 pounds should be secured in a rear-facing seat equipped with a five-point harness.
- A child under the age of 4 years and 40 pounds should be secured as previously described until he or she reaches the upper limits of the rear-facing seat. At which point, a forward-facing child restraint equipped with a five-point harness should be used.
- A child under the age of 8 and height of 57 inches should be secured as previously described until they reach the upper limits of the rear-facing or forward-facing seat. At which point, a belt positioning booster seat should be used.
- A child over 8 years of age or 57 inches in height must be properly secured by a seat belt.
- If there are no rear seats, the child should be secured as described above in the front seat with one exception – no child should ever be secured in a rear-facing seat in the front seat of any vehicle that is equipped with a passenger air bag unless it is deactivated.
- Motorists in violation of this law can be stopped by police and issued a summons.
Additional Car Seat Safety Tips
- Secure the baby every time he or she rides in the car. Keep harness straps snug and flat with the chest clip at armpit level.
- Most car crashes happen near home. Even an accident at a low speed can cause severe injuries.
- The back seat is generally the safest place for kids of any age.
- Never place a rear-facing child in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger air bag.
- Send in the child safety seat registration card to be notified if your child safety seat is recalled.
- Use the correct child safety seat belt path and attaching system.
- Correctly install the child safety seat in the vehicle.
- Get a tight fit – an installed child safety seat should not move more than one inch from side to side or towards the front of the vehicle.
- Take the time to be sure your child is riding safely. Check your vehicle owner’s manual to see how to lock your child safety seat in place. Some vehicle seating positions require special installation techniques.
- Replace any child safety seat that has been involved in a crash.