New Jersey Car Seat Laws Updated [2023]

Accidents cause most children’s deaths, but using a seat belt can increase their chances of surviving by 75%. In New Jersey, children must use a car seat that meets safety standards and follow the seat manufacturer’s rules about height and weight until they turn eight or are 57 inches tall. 

But we understand that keeping up with car seat laws can be overwhelming, especially with the constant changes and updates. That’s why we’re here to help! This article will explain the New Jersey car seat laws for 2023, making it easy for you to understand and follow them. 

We promise to provide you with the information you need to keep your child safe while on the road.

New Jersey Car Seat Laws

Unless exempted by P.L.1983, c.128, the following individuals are required to wear a securely adjusted safety seat belt system when driving  in New Jersey: 

  1. Children younger than eight weigh less than 80 pounds.
  2. Passengers younger than eight years old and weigh more than 80 pounds.
  3. Passengers who are eight or older but younger than 18 years old.
  4. The driver and the person sitting in the front seat.

There are also specific laws to safeguard child passengers in moving vehicles. 

Rear-Facing Car Seat Law in New Jersey

In New Jersey, children below two years and weighing less than 30 pounds are required to be positioned in rear-facing car seats equipped with a 5-point harness. 

These laws prioritize the utmost safety and protection of infants and young children while they move in vehicles.

The foundation for these regulations rests upon extensive research and studies that consistently highlight the advantages of rear-facing car seats for young children. 

Including a 5-point harness as a mandatory requirement is a critical aspect of the law. This safety restraint system securely fastens the child at five distinct points: two shoulder straps, two hip straps, and one strap between the legs. 

By employing this design, the child is firmly and snugly held within the car seat, minimizing the potential for ejection or excessive movement in the event of an accident.

Complying with these rear-facing car seat laws ensures legal adherence and, more importantly, safeguards the well-being and protection of young passengers. 

Regular awareness of the requirements guarantees that infants and young children receive the highest level of safety during their travels.

Forward-Facing Car Seat Laws in New Jersey

As the law stipulates, children not yet four must be secured in either a rear-facing or forward-facing car seat. 

However, it is crucial to emphasize that the law places utmost importance on utilizing the rear-facing car seat for as long as possible before transitioning the child to a forward-facing seat. 

By strictly adhering to the directive of maximizing the use of front-facing car seats, parents and caregivers significantly enhance the safety and well-being of their children. 

Transition to a forward-facing car seat should only occur once the child surpasses the weight and height limitations outlined by the car seat manufacturer for the rear-facing position. 

Prematurely moving the child to a forward-facing seat could jeopardize their safety and increase the risk of injury. It is strictly prohibited by law to place children under four years in booster seats. 

Booster seats are designed for older children who have outgrown the requirements for forward-facing car seats but require additional support to ensure proper seat belt fit. 

Compliance with these regulations demonstrates responsible and attentive care towards child passengers, prioritizing their safety and minimizing potential risks during travel.

New Jersey Car Seat Laws on Booster Seats

Once a child surpasses the upper limit of a forward-facing seat in terms of weight and height, the subsequent phase of their transportation entails using a booster seat. 

Notably, parents or caregivers can continue employing the forward-facing seat even after the child reaches the age of 4 years until the child demonstrates the requisite readiness to transition into a booster seat. 

Under the law, the booster seat must be used until the child reaches eight years old and has a height of 57 inches.

Once the child outgrows the weight and height limits of the forward-facing seat, the booster seat assumes the mantle of responsibility, providing appropriate support and positioning to facilitate secure and comfortable travel.

Strict adherence to the legal requirement of employing the booster seat until the child reaches the age of 8 years and attains a height of 57 inches is of utmost importance. 

The booster seat plays a vital role in optimizing the child’s seating position and ensuring the proper alignment of the seat belt, thereby maximizing their protection in the event of any unforeseen circumstances.

Ridesharing Child Seat Law in New Jersey

In its comprehensive car seat regulations, New Jersey has no specific law addressing child seat requirements in ridesharing vehicles. However, the state’s car seat guidelines establish clear directives to ensure the safe transportation of children.

According to these regulations, children under two years old and under 30 pounds must be securely restrained in a rear-facing seat. 

This measure aims to provide optimal protection for infants, recognizing their delicate physical development and vulnerability during travel.

Children under four years old and weighing less than 40 pounds should be seated in a forward-facing seat equipped with a harness until they outgrow it. 

This specialized harness is an essential safety feature, ensuring the child’s secure positioning until they reach the appropriate stage for advancement.

Children under eight years old and shorter than 57 inches are required to utilize a booster seat. The booster seat provides the necessary support and elevation to ensure proper seat belt fit, enhancing their safety during transit.

Law on Leaving a Child Unattended in a Vehicle in New Jersey

While New Jersey may not have a specific legal provision addressing the act of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle, it is paramount to recognize and heed the crucial information provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding the perils associated with such negligence. 

The AAP has highlighted the potentially dire consequences of leaving a child alone in a vehicle, encompassing the grave risks of heatstroke, inadvertent vehicular movement, and potential abduction or entrapment.

Aligning with the AAP‘s guidelines, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families fervently advises against any instance of leaving a child in an unattended vehicle, regardless of the duration, emphasizing the hazards that even a momentary lapse in supervision can entail. 

The department’s strong warning serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for unwavering adult vigilance and its crucial role in mitigating potential life-threatening situations.

If a child suffers harm or injury from being left alone in a vehicle, the adult responsible for such negligence can face severe legal repercussions, including child neglect charges. 

These legal ramifications underscore the societal recognition of the immense duty and responsibility entrusted to caregivers and their pivotal role in safeguarding the well-being and security of children.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Stipulations Regarding Using Rear-Facing Car Seats in New Jersey, Considering Age and Weight Requirements?

According to the car seat regulations in New Jersey, it is mandatory to position children below the age of 2 years and weighing less than 30 pounds in rear-facing car seats. 

Considering their delicate and evolving physical structures, the underlying intention is to optimize the safety measures and safeguard the well-being of infants and young children during vehicle journeys.

What Are the Age and Weight Criteria for Employing a Booster Seat in New Jersey?

As per the regulations governing car seats in New Jersey, children under eight years of age and standing shorter than 57 inches must be securely restrained in a booster seat. 

This intermediate seating alternative facilitates appropriate positioning and optimizes the compatibility of the seat belt, thereby ensuring the child’s safety and reducing potential hazards during vehicular travel.

Is Utilizing a Booster Seat for a Child Under 4 in New Jersey Permissible?

No, New Jersey prohibits the utilization of a booster seat for children under the age of 4. 

The law stipulates that children under four years old and weighing less than 40 pounds should be appropriately restrained in a forward-facing car seat equipped with a harness until they surpass these designated thresholds. 

This regulation seeks to provide age-appropriate protection for young children during vehicle travel.

What Are the Penalties Associated With Non-compliance With Car Seat Laws in New Jersey?

Non-compliance with car seat laws in New Jersey can result in significant penalties. Failure to abide by the prescribed car seat requirements can lead to legal ramifications, including fines and potential child neglect charges. 

To avoid such consequences, it is imperative to prioritize the safety of children and adhere to the specified car seat guidelines.

Can New Jersey Car Seats That Do Not Meet the United States Department of Transportation Standards Be Used?

No, New Jersey mandates that the car restraint system utilized for children must meet the safety standards of the United States Department of Transportation. 

It is crucial to select car seats that conform to these established standards to ensure children’s utmost protection and well-being during their vehicle journeys.

Are There Any Specific Laws Addressing Child Car Seat Requirements in Ridesharing Services in New Jersey?

New Jersey does not possess explicit laws addressing child car seat requirements in the context of ridesharing services. 

However, it is strongly recommended to prioritize the safety of children and adhere to the recommended car seat guidelines, regardless of the mode of transportation employed. By doing so, one ensures the protection and well-being of children are upheld.


Leave a Comment