NJ Car Seat Law

Be Aware of the Current Law in NJ Regarding Child Car Seats


New Jersey Car Seat Law Effective 9/1/15

Birth to age 2: A child under age 2 and under 30 lbs. must be in a rear-facing car seat with a five-point harness. That means toddlers who are tall or have long legs must remain rear-facing until age 2 even if their knees are bent and their feet are pressed against the back seat of the car. 

Ages 2 to 4: A child under age 4 and 40 lbs. must remain in either a rear-facing or a forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness in the back seat of a vehicle.

Ages 4 to 8: Children must remain in a car seat or a booster seat in the back seat of a vehicle until they are at least 8 years old or 57 inches tall. Once they reach that age or height, they can use the regular adult seat belts.

Age 8 and above: A child age 8 and older can sit in a regular seat using a seat belt. However, the New Jersey law does not specify when children over age 8 can move from the back seat to the front seat. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children not sit in the front seat until age 12.

Front seats: If a vehicle doesn't have a back seat (like a pick-up truck or a sports car), New Jersey's law says a child can ride in the front seat in a car seat or a booster seat. But the vehicle's passenger-side airbag must be disabled or shut off if a baby or toddler is using a rear-facing car seat strapped into the front seat of the vehicle. The force of air bags an injure small children if they deploy.

Fines: The fines for violating New Jersey's car seat law are currently $50 to $75. The law does not say how police would verify the age, height or weight of a child when issuing a ticket.

Exemptions: You can no longer get out of a ticket by claiming in court that you were following the manufacturer's weight and age recommendations for your child's car seat. That provision was removed from the new version of the law.

Under the new law, parents with kids under age 2 and under 30 lbs. need to turn their car seats back around to be rear facing, even if the child seems uncomfortable, O'Connor said. "It is the safest way to transport the child,"

To request assistance with a car seat, have the seat inspected, assist in showing a parent or caregiver in setting the seat up, please email carseats@mahwahpd.org. One of our technicians will get back in touch with you.

Visit New Jersey Motor Vehicle's website explaining the changes:

BulletinMark Manning