New York Car Seat Laws (2023) -What Parents Need to Know

According to New York State Law, children under eight years old should ride in an appropriate restraint system. You’ll find the age requirement is the leading factor to decide which stage and what type of car seat that your child should sit.

The new version of the child car seat law was updated and effected on November 1, 2019, which required children who are younger than 2 years of age should ride in a rear-facing car seat.

What is New York State Car Seat Law 2022?

New York Legislature Laws Section 1229-C Subsection 1 read: (a) all back seat passengers of such vehicle under the age of four are restrained in a specially designed seat that meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards [...] (b) all back seat passengers of such vehicle who are age four or older but under age eight (i) are restrained in an appropriate child restraint system [...] or (ii) are restrained in a lap safety belt [...]; or (c) in the case of any other back seat passenger under the age of sixteen, he or she is restrained by a safety belt [...].

New York Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

In section 1229-C 1 (a), the New York law makes it mandatory that infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible until they are 2 years old. The new version of the law took effect on November 1, 2019. 

The best practice is to use a convertible or all-in-one car seat in the rear-facing position when a child outgrows the weight or height limit of the seat, but until the child outgrows the weight or height limit set by the car seat manufacturer.

New York Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

The NYS law in section 1229-C 1 (a) requires all children 4 years old or younger to ride in child safety seats, with no age, weight, or height requirements for facing forward or not.

The rules in the same section also indicate that a forward-facing can be used if the child exceeds the height or weight limit allowed by the manufacturer even if he or she is under 2 years of age.

However, it’s not the safest move you should take.

It’s best to have the rules of NHTSA in mind and keep your child in rear-facing seats as long as possible, then use a forward-facing car seat with a harness until the child reaches the highest weight or height set by the forward-facing car seat manufacturer.

Child Booster Seat Laws in New York

The New York law does not mention the age requirement for a booster seat. But it just gives recommendations that an appropriate child restraint system  should be used for children who have outgrown forward-facing car seats, or when your child: 

  1. Age between 4 to 8 years old
  2. Weigh 40 to 80 pounds
  3. Less than 4 feet, 9 inches in height.

According to the explanation from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the child restraint system can be a child safety seat, a harness, a vest, or a booster seat attached with the vehicle seat belt system.

Your child should keep using a booster seat until an adult seat belt correctly fits the child. The booster seat needs to be properly installed with both the shoulder and lap belts. Never use only the lap belt with a booster seat.

Seat Belt Laws for New York

New York State law requires children under the age of 16 must wear seat belts no matter they are in the front seat or the back seat. 

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in New York

Violators who don’t secure a child under 16 years of properly in a child restraint system will receive a maximum fine of $100, plus three points upon the driver’s license.

New York Car Seat Laws Apply for

The drivers are responsible for the child safety in the car.  

When can a child legally sit in the front seat in New York?

New York law doesn’t give a specific age when your child can sit in the front seat.

Based on the experts’ opinions, children after 13 years of age can use car seat belts. A car seat belt is safe when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest. After that, your child is ready to sit in the front seat.

Taxi Car Seat Law in New York

The New York State car seat laws do not apply to taxi cabs and for-hire vehicles. But the drive must allow you to install your own car seat if you bring it. The law also allows a child under the age of 7 may to sit on an adult’s lap in the rear seat of the taxi. 

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in New York Law

The NYS laws are not strict on age, weight, and height requirements through four car seat ages. But the law emphasizes the use of rear-facing car seats.

Rear-facing (stage 1): 2 years old

Forward-facing (stage 2): 4 years old

Booster (stage 3): 4-8 years old, 40-80 pounds, less than 4 feet 9 inches

Seat belt (stage 4): under 16 years old

Best Car Seats to Work with New York Laws

Rear-facing Car Seats for 2 Years Old

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit

This convertible car seat is great enough to meet the New York state parent’s need to ride their kids in the rear- and front-facing for a longer time. It features 50-lb rear-facing weight limit to be one of the best rear-facing car seats for 2 years old.

When using it facing front, the 65-lb weight limit makes it go through the preschool ages – 3 years old, 4 years old, and 5 years old.

Booster Seats for Big Kids

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster


The Graco TurboBooster is the most popular and best budget car seat to meet the NYS law to ride older children, six or seven years old, or even bigger. While six years of age is relatively younger than other states’ eight years of age requirement, it’s sooner for Alabama children to get rid of a car seat.

But for parents in Alabama, you may keep your kid in a car seat as long as possible for safety’s sake.