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New Jersey's car seat laws strive to save lives

The idea of losing a child is raw and unbearable. Across the nation, more and more grieving parents are sharing their stories about the catastrophic consequences of the improper use of child safety seats. Unbeknownst to many of these parents, while they thought they were safeguarding their children by using car safety seats, they were misusing them.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that car accidents are the number one cause of death for children in the U.S. and result in injury to over 120,000 children each year. Of those, 43% who die are unrestrained or improperly restrained. Proper use of car seats can decrease the risk of death by 70% for infants under one year and 54% in toddlers aged one to four.

The Garden State has one of the strictest child safety seat laws in the nation

The following guidelines will help you transport your child safely and ensure compliance with the New Jersey Child Passenger Restraint Law (Title 39:3-76.2a):

  • Children under the age of two who weigh less than 30 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing car seat with a five-point harness.
  • Children from ages two to four who weigh up to 40 pounds must be secured in either a rear-facing or forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness.
  • Children ages four to eight and less than 57" in height must be in either a car seat with a five-point harness or secured in a booster seat with a regular seat belt.

If you drive a vehicle that does not have a back seat, your child can ride in the front seat in a car seat or booster seat. However, New Jersey's law says that the vehicle's passenger-side airbag must be disabled.

When is it safe to move your kids to the front seat?

New Jersey's law does not specify when children eight or older can move from the back seat to the front seat. However, the CDC recommends that children not sit in the front seat until age 13.

Car seats are critical to children's safety. Before using your car seat, review the manufacturer's instructions and follow them carefully.

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