Governor's Traffic Safety Committee

Child Passenger Safety for Parents and Caregivers

Child Passenger Safety

Introduction | Programs & Solutions | FAQs | Safety Tips
Related Sites & Sources | Vehicle & Traffic Law | Brochures & Publications

Seat Belts & Air Bags

See the Know for Sure Tool-kit for Car Seat Recommendations for Children

New York State's Child Restraint Law

Child Passenger Restraints Are Not An Option, They Are The Law!

Effective November 1, 2019 - Children under 2 must be in a rear-facing child seat.

All children under the age of 2 must use a rear-facing car seat until they are two years old or reach the highest weight or height limit allowed by the manufacturer of the car seat. For babies that outgrow their infant-only car seat, a convertible or 3-in-1 car seat should be used in the rear-facing position until they outgrow the maximum height and weight for the rear-facing position.

For more information see brochure: New York State's Occupant Restraint Law or Quick Tips about the new child passenger restraint law.


On April 1, 1982 New York State's first child passenger restraint law went into effect.  In 1985, New York State's mandatory seat belt law was enacted.  The seat belt law includes mandatory use of a federally-approved child safety seat for children under four years of age.   The focus of this page is on Child Safety Seats.  For information about seat belts and air bags, please visit our Seat Belts & Air Bags Page.

Programs & Solutions

Child Passenger Safety Training Program

Effective child passenger safety training is an important tool in the effort to raise awareness and convey accurate technical information about proper occupant restraint usage. Therefore, the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee provides statewide coordination for the Child Passenger Safety Training Program. GTSC maintains an up-to-date schedule of child passenger safety seat check events and classes, as well as a listing of certified technicians and instructors. And we will gladly furnish information to any agency or organization interested in conducting a training course.

Training Courses

There are several kinds of child passenger safety training courses available. These range from a basic three-hour awareness class introducing crash dynamics and the complexities of safety seat installation to an intensive four-day certified technician training course. A few of the training programs that are available include:

Operation Kids is the International Association of Chiefs of Police training program targeted for law enforcement to increase awareness and provide basic technical information. Its goals are to encourage law enforcement professionals to enforce child passenger safety laws and to provide a basic level of education for drivers. This course may be designed as a four-hour class, or it can be expanded up to a two-day training course.

The Certified Technician Training Course is a standardized four-day course developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and now a program of Safe Kids Worldwide and targeting those child passenger safety professionals and advocates who are responsible for educating the public about properly choosing and installing a safety seat and who want to develop the technical competence needed to participate in or conduct child safety seat clinics. This comprehensive course includes hands-on training, as well as two field-based child safety seat checks. After successfully completing this course, participants will be certified to teach child passenger safety awareness training classes and the non-certified technician course.

Where to Find Course Information

You will find available training courses listed in our Child Passenger Safety Technician Training Course Calendar. To get more information about these training courses, or if you have questions about the program, please contact the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Child safety seats should never be used in a seat equipped with an air bag. For the most current information on air bags see NHTSA's web site.


What is the child passenger safety law in New York State?

  1. The law requires children under the age of four to be restrained in a federally approved car seat when riding in a motor vehicle.
  2. If the weight of a child under the age of 4 exceeds 40 pounds, the child may be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system, allowing the child to use a booster seat. Children ages 4, 5, 6 and 7 must be properly secured in an appropriate child restraint system, one for which your child meets the weight and height recommendations of the child restraint manufacturer. A child safety seat or harness/vest or booster seat may be used. Note: This requirement applies to all children until their 8th birthday.
  3. The vehicle's safety belts are not defined as a child restraint system under this law, as safety belts are not designed for children under 4'9" and therefore, do not protect young children.

Are children required by law to sit in the back seat?

Although New York does not have a law preventing children from sitting in the front seat, it is highly recommended that all children age 12 and under ride properly restrained in the back seat. Researchers estimate that just by putting a child in the back seat instead of the front seat reduces the chance of injury and death by more than 30%.

Does the law apply to taxis and buses?

Public transportation buses are exempt from the occupant restraint law. However, children under the age of four must be restrained in a federally approved car seat while riding on a school bus. As of November 1, 2017, the law applies to taxi and livery drivers and all front seat passengers are required to wear a seat belt.

Are children required to be in a car seat when riding in a recreational vehicle?

Children under the age of four riding in campers, recreation vehicles or mobile homes are required to be in a car seat.

Can I be fined if my child passengers are not in car seats?

Yes. 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.

What are the different types of car seats, and when are they used?

There are four basic types of child safety seats available: infant, convertible, forward-facing only and booster. The one you use depends upon the weight and height of the child. It is important to always read the child safety seat manufacturer's instructions for installation and use.

Car Seat Recommendations for Children

Restraint Types

Description of Restraint Types


Can a child under the age of four be restrained in a vest instead of a car seat?

No. Vests that meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Standard 213 are available, but they cannot be used instead of a car seat. The law specifies a seat.
However, vests that meet FMVSS 213 may be used as an alternate to booster seats for children ages 4, 5, 6 and 7.

What is the best car seat to purchase?

The best car seat is the one that fits your child properly, fits your vehicle correctly, and is easy to use so that you will use it correctly every time the child rides in a car. Choose a car seat that is appropriate for your child's age, size, and developmental and physical needs. The best way to ensure a proper fit in your vehicle is to try installing the child seat before purchasing.

Who should use a booster seat?

The next step of children who have outgrown a forward-facing child safety seat is a booster seat, usually when a child weighs more than 40 pounds or grows more than 40 inches in height.

What type of booster seat should you use?

There are two major types of belt-positioning booster seats:

  1. Backless or low-back booster seats are used in vehicles with a high seat back in which the child's head can be supported by the vehicle seat back or head restraint.
  2. High-back booster seats are used in vehicles with a low seat back where there is no vehicle seat back or head restraint to support the child's head and neck.

Booster seats must be used with both the lap and shoulder belt. A booster seat should never be used with a lap belt only.

When should you move your child from a booster seat to an adult seat belt?

Your child should stay in a booster seat until the adult seat belt fits him or her properly. This is usually when your child reaches 4'9" in height and is about 8 years old. Please make sure that your child meets all of the following requirements for a proper seat belt fit:

  1. The lap belt should be low across the upper thighs or hips, not across the abdomen.
  2. The shoulder belt should lie across the chest and shoulder, not touching the neck or face.
  3. Your child should be able to sit with his or her back straight against the vehicle seat back with knees bent at the seat's edge without slouching.
  4. Your child should be able to ride this way for the entire trip.

Where can I have my car seat inspected?

You can have your child's car seat checked for correct installation by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician at a fitting station. To find one near you, go see our list of Child Safety Seat Inspection Stations.

Where can I get information about the compatibility of car seats with various makes and models of automobiles?

You can read A Parent's Guide to Playing It Safe with Kids and Cars at the web site or you may call SafetyBeltSafe USA at 1-800-745-SAFE.

Where can I get information about recalls on car seats?

You can call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or access the recall list for child safety seats from the NHTSA web site at

How do I contact the manufacturer of my car seat?

You will find a Customer Service number in your car seat manufacturer's instructions or you can call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236. You will need to give the Customer Service representative your child safety seat's model number and date of manufacturer. This information can be found on a sticker somewhere on the car seat's plastic shell.

What conditions would make my car seat unsafe?

Your child's safety seat MAY NOT BE SAFE if:

Safety Tips

Safety tips on our site: