Child Passenger Safety Law To Change September 1st

On Tuesday, September 1st, New Jersey will enact an updated Child Passenger Safety Law that will affect car and booster seat requirements for children under the age of 8.

The revised law has the following regulations:

  • Children under 2-years-old who weigh less than 30 pounds must be secured in a five-point harness, rear-facing child seat.
  • Children under 4-years-old and under who weigh less than 40 pounds must be secured in a five-point harness, rear-facing or forward-facing child seat.
  • Children under 8-years-old and less than 57 inches tall must be secured in a five-point harness, forward-facing child seat or in a booster seat.
  • Children over 8-years-old or more than 57 inches tall may be secured in a regular adult seat belt.

There is an exemption for vehicles – such as sports cars or pick-up trucks – that do not have back seats. In such instances, a child may be secured in the above listed age/weight/height appropriate child restraint system in the front passenger seat only if the passenger side airbag system is disabled or turned off. If the passenger-side airbag system cannot be disabled, the child cannot ride in the vehicle. The reason for the stipulation of disabling the airbag system is that the force of an air bag can injure children if they deploy.

The fine was originally in the $10 to $25 range but will increase to between $50 to $75.

Drivers will no longer be able to state that they were following the manufacturer’s weight and age recommendations for their car seat and use that as a legal excuse to not receive a citation. That provision has been removed from the revised statute.

There is also no mention in the statute as to how a police officer will be able to verify a child’s age or weight if a summons is issued.

School buses are exempt from the law.

The new law takes effect September 1, 2015.

A copy of the statue is available below: