New York Car Seat Laws

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New York is known for being one of the most restrictive states when it comes to seat belt laws, and I think they're now going to take the record for most restrictive state when it comes to car seats. Currently, children in NY have to be in a car seat until age four. Ethan will be old enough to be out of his car seat in 11 days. Unfortunately, in 20 days he'll have to go right back into one for three more years. Yes, NY is now requiring kids to be in a car seat until age seven!

This is when my libertarian streak kicks in. Some laws are meant to be broken not because they're immoral or oppressive but simply because they're stupid. A seat belt in the back seat of a minivan is going to do just as much as a car seat, perhaps more. Also, imagine all the six year olds who have been out of car seats for two years now who have to go back in them because of this. The least they could have done was gradually move the age higher. NY lawmakers really are idiots.

Ethan may be spared the full three extra years if he reaches 4 ft. 9 in. first. The way the law is worded, it's almost as if they expect some four year olds to be that tall. He's something like 3 ft. 2 in., so I doubt that's going to be very common. Or maybe we should just put him in the front passenger seat. The way I read the law, that would be fine. Of course, there's only one front passenger seat, so the same problem would arise with Isaiah in 18 months.

25 Comments

First of all, let me say that I do think the law sounds way too controlling, and doesn't leave any place for the wisdom of parents to decide what's best for their children and what's an acceptable risk for them. However, I will quibble with this statement:

A seat belt in the back seat of a minivan is going to do just as much as a car seat, perhaps more.

Maybe, maybe not. The advantage of a car seat (or booster seat) is that it makes it so that the lap part of the belt doesn't rest over the child's abdomen. The lap belt over the abdomen of a young child can be a dangerous thing, causing nasty internal seatbelt injuries. My niece had to have a big portion of her bowel removed after it died from seat belt trauma. If she'd had a five point harness system on, or been in a booster seat, that wouldn't have happened.

I didn't even know this law was coming into effect. I appreciate the laws we have here in NY but sometimes they just go overboard and not even-handedly so.

There is also some issue about raising the driving age (at least that's what it says on the news). Looks like the age at which you are a grown-up is gradually raising to the early twenties. I, for one, am not repulsed by 12 year old rabbit hunting tractor drivers. Aren't there some seat-belt extensions that properly harness decent-sized kids in?

When I turned 16 I went and got my drivers license.

My daughters now are reluctant. They have many hoopes to jump through before they can get a license; drivers ed ($300-400), 40-hours of supervised driving, pre-test before learners permit, and then the curfews.

I actually like all of these things due to safety but it has moved the rite of passage. Rites of passage of very important, we should guard them so that our children sense their growth and acheivement. Especially for a four-year old, he will not understand why the cheese has been moved.

Actually, the car set law in Tennessee is a bit more restrictive...

"Any child 4 � 8 years old, measuring less than 5 feet in height must be in a belt positioning booster seat, in the rear seat, if available."

Ethan is only 38 inches? I think you'd have to have a booster to get the seat belt positioned correctly on him.

I can't believe any body who has spoken out against this change has actually done there homework. No 4,5,6,and somtimes 7yr ols fit properly in a reg. seat beat. All you have to do is open your eyes as the child is climbing into the car and clicking the seatbelt to see this. If the child doesn't fit properly into the seat with a seatbeat ( the same one that is designed to fit adults) they can be seriously injured. Is this what a parents wants? Or do we want what is best for our children and keep them as safe as possible.

I have a 7yr old and a 5yr old who know they have to ride in a booster seat at at times and this does not bother them. If fact they will not get in a relatives or friends car without one on their own. Did you also know that about 85% of parents or caregivers don't know how to properly install a carseat. I find that to be quite disturbing. A belt thru the back just doesn't do it alone. Many don't know even what a locking clip is or if the carseat moves more then an inch when installed it's not done right. So please, please do some reserch and know exactly what you're talking about when complaining about something so simple that can save your childs life......

I'm trying to read through my post to find some claim that there's no justification for this law. I can't seem to find one. So why is it that people keep telling me that I don't think there's any justification for this law and that I'm criticizing things about it that I know nothing about?

I made two complaints, and I think one is a real complaint that I stand by. The other pretty much reduces to a worry about where they're drawing the line and whether they're selected the right age, and it's a mere worry and isn't clearly phrased as anything else in the post. The real complaint is that it would have been easier if they had phased it in rather than doing such a huge change all at once.

The worry is that they're probably erring on the side of caution by going up to age seven. People have offered contrary evidence, but this is one of those issues with no clear line already drawn. You have to draw the line somewhere. Apparently TN draws it at eight, and NY is now drawing it as seven. Is one of those arbitrary lines better? Are the states that have it set lower immoral for allowing it at five or four? You have to agree that the safety issue of lap belts gets weaker as a child gets older, and wondering whether it needs to be at age seven is perfectly legitimate if the amount of harm prevented by setting the law there rather than at age six isn't going to be as much as the amount of harm prevented by setting it at age six rather than age five. This just isn't some absolute moral issue.

Besides, I remember fitting just fine into seatbelts when I was that age. If there's an issue with the safety of lap belts, then that's a design problem for the vehicle manufacturers, but they used to do it so the lap belts didn't go across a kid's stomach. It was a genuine lap belt. That's how it seemed to me as a kid, anyway. Most vehicles have shoulder straps anyway now. Doesn't that reduce the amount of pressure on the lap belt?

I've never had the opportunity to try our kids in our seat belts, because they haven't reached the age when they're supposed to be in it, and Ethan will be that age only for a short time starting in a week. That should have been clear in the post. Isn't it a little strange to be charging me with doing things that can threaten my children's lives if there's no way I can be doing it?

Given Ethan's autistic issues, it would be flat-out stupid to get him excited about getting out of his seat only to put him back in it, which is just a more extreme version of the very problem I was raising against the idiotic legislators who should have phased it in gradually rather than slapping it on six year olds who have been big boys for a couple years already and now will be treated as babies again, as they see it. I'm sure this wasn't a last minute law that's now going into effect because it was just passed. This sort of thing has probably in the works for a couple years, and if so then they could easily have used that time to phase it in.

Personally, I think that the only reason anyone would complain about raising the car seat age is because They don't want to be bothered for 3 more years to have to physically put their children in the car and click the carseat in place. I think our childrens safety should come first, before our personal laziness. Just like Rebecca Stark wrote about her neice having really bad internal injuries because of a seatbelt injury. I have a 8, 9 and 10 year old and have seen what happens when they put the shoulder strap behind them when your not looking or lean over when they fall asleep. I can see several injuries happening from that. The car seats and booster seats are designed to keep that from happening and I personally think that MY CHILDREN COME FIRST BEFORE MY DESIRE TO JUST GET IN THE CAR AND GO. So please think before you complain here about who the "VICTIM" is going to be. Are you really hurting your children by protecting them or is it just your laziness speaking.

I forgot one thing in my last comment. Anyone who really and honestly thinks that it's the vehicle manufacturers problem to make the seat belts better fitting for our children is sadly mistaking. It is OUR JOB as parents to make sure our children are safe, not the manufacturer of the car we drive. When we go to buy a new vehicle don't we check the safety standards of that vehicle before we decide to purchase it? Well, as parents, we need to decide to do whatever is necessary to keep our children just as safe before we decide to have children. And minivans are known for children in the back-back seat to get seriously injured when hit in a rear end collision because of the seat being so close to the back hatch. Believe me, I've seen it. My father owns a collision repair shop and I have seen come minivan collisions that a person wished they had never seen. I grew up with this and because of this I am all for making sure that my children are strapped into whatever seat is going to protect them the best.

It would be illegal for me to strap all my children into whichever seat would protect them best. I have room for two in that seat, and I've got three kids under four. Sorry, but things just don't work out that conveniently.

Also, it's actually more work to put a small child into the design-flawed shoulder belts that they use nowadays than it is to put them into a car seat that you keep installed, as we do. If you have to reach over the middle seat and back into the back seat, it's much easier if you just have to pull the straps next my son who is elevated and over his shoulders than it is to reach all the way down to where the design-flawed shoulder strap attaches.

I can think of lots of reasons besides laziness, but I've already said them. I'll say the same thing to you that I said to Wendy. I made two complaints, and I think one is a real complaint that I stand by. The other pretty much reduces to a worry about where they're drawing the line and whether they're selected the right age, and it's a mere worry and isn't clearly phrased as anything else in the post.

The real complaint is that it would have been easier if they had phased it in rather than doing such a huge change all at once. Since these laws usually take years to go into effect, they could have made the final deadline the same with gradual movements toward it until then. That would actually be safer, wouldn't it? So I'm just not sure how you have the gall to claim that I'm endangering my children by proposing a safer law that also will reduce the sudden shock of making older kids feel like babies all at once.

I'm not sure why you woul think that such a view means I must have been motivated by not caring about safety or by being lazy. It has to do with whether the government has an obligation to force parents to draw the line where they do. You obviously don't think car companies have a similar obligation, so you'll need a carefully developed political theory to justify why the government does and the car companies don't. I think car companies have at least as much obligation as the government does, because they're the ones making the seatbelts with design flaws. The lap belts I wore as a kid really went across my lap, not my intestines, and they were fine.

If the damage in the back of a minivan is because of the seat's being so close to the back hatch, then how is the seat belt going to be worse than the car seat? That kind of damage would be really bad either way, and being strapped in better means it's less likely the kid will move out of the way of the damage.

I don't remember talking about a victim. I'm not sure what part of my post or subsequent comments that you're referring to.

In regards to all of the conversations I have just read, I agree that we need to do whatever it takes to make sure our children are protected when it comes to vechicles they ride in. But, can anyone tell me what the exact weight and height requirements for this new law are? A friend of mine has a daughter who will be five years old in two months, she weighs approx. 50 lbs. she isn't over weight, she's just a solid girl. My other concern is, what are the schools transportation dept. going to do about kids riding on school buses? Are we going to have to supply the safety seats for our kids? How are 5 & 6 year olds going to carry these seats on and off the buses along with there back packs, especially in the winter months. Don't you think that would be a bit much to ask of these kids? I just heard about this new change and I think we should have been notified about this before now. Unfortunately, there is always going to be accidents that happen that are beyond are control no matter what we do.Keeping are kids safe is a number one priority of course, but how far is too far when it comes to these laws?

In New York, it's up to age seven unless 4 ft. 9 in. The only people who can be out of a car seat are older than seven or taller than that. Weight isn't mentioned in the law. The law itself is at the site I linked to.

Our son goes to school on a school bus every day, and they strap him into a car seat that we didn't provide.

The whole point of my argument against these laws is the uninvited intrusion into the privacy of my personal vehicle. The state should NOT be attempting to legislate common sense. While I personally wear my seat belt all the time (and indeed feel 'naked' without one), the state is providing no tangible benefit in exchange for the abrogation of my rights. My children also ride in car seats and boosters; however, I would prefer to reserve the right to restrain them as I see fit.

IMHO, these laws have more to do with:
- kowtowing to insurance and car seat manufacturs with large financial motives
- increasing the public coffers with the proceeds of fines issued for these offenses.

Even full out libertarians who think it's wrong to intrude on my privacy in my vehicle should recognize the principle of protecting children from their parents' unwise decisions. The question is whether this is a risky enough, and thus unwise enough, decision for the government to be justified in intervening. Many have argued that it's not just justified in intervening but obligated to intervene.

how do you get one of these carseats for a seven year old.

I would imagine you can find them at Toys R Us or any other place that sells carseats.

any input or source for secure seatbelt or adaptations for young adults with autism who are unpredictable during transport.

I have the same problem with this law. My son Hunter is a small guy....HOWEVER he just turned 7. I just recently heard that they are changing the law AGAIN and making it 4'9" and no age limit. This will be the 3rd time Hunter has met the requirements to kick the booster seat out and shortly had to go back in. I am concerned about my son's safty - but how can I be sure what it is when the lawmakers seem to be confused also?! If he has to stay in a booster seat until he is 4'9" he will be having his 1st date in a booster seat. *** Note to LAWMAKERS - Stores do sell devises to install on regular seat belt to make the belt fit correctly!!! ***Note to some parents who may read this post and be offended - while your children might not fight you to be in a booster seat a 7 years old, what about us parents who have children with behavior problems that insist they are "big enough" to be in a regular car seat...any idea's???? I understand that safty is the issue here. But as I said.... If the lawmakers cant decide what the booster requirements should be dosnt that make you wonder if they arent just blowing smoke?

WHAT ARE THE SEATBELT LAW IN NEW YORK IN THE BACK SEAT OF A MINI VAN I WAS DRIVING IN QUEENS CAME UP TO A SEATBELT CHECK POINT THEY ASKED ME HOW OLD MY SON WAS IN THE BACKSEAT I TOLD THE OFFICER 15 THEY WROTE ME A TICKET FOR HIM...

My wife tells me that the New York law is that everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt. I knew it included everyone regardless of age in the back seat, but she says it includes everyone in any seat regardless of age.

My question is this...When we travel to state to state(my 5yr. old daughter and I do alot) do I follow all the laws on carseats? We live SC and it says at age 5 and at 80 pounds she doesn't have to use one as long as she can sit back against the seat and her legs can hang over the seat...So, do I need to bring a booster seat with me when traveling and argue with her to get in it when we cross state lines?

You need to follow the laws of whatever state you are driving in. The fact that you are from another state doesn't matter. You have to follow the traffic laws of the state you're in at the time.

Ok 1st of all read the stupid law and i say stupid becuase of 2 things. 1st of all when they considered the bill there was no age limit there was a height only..they had to change that and do you know why??? It had absolutly nothing to do with safety. It was becuase the average american woman is between 5'2 and 5'4 i know most of you are taller but let me make a point here. I an barely 5ft tall...how do you think i would have felt going to my PROM in a booster seat becuase i was 4'9 or getting on the bus in JR high and having to bring my booster seat..I had been in car accidents 2 times before i was an adult and both times the seat belts restrained me perfectly! and i was less then 80lbs at the time i was just a petite person. yes there is a weight suggestion but its not required only height it i have not met many 7 yr olds that are 5 ft tall infact i havent met any. so why would they put this in the bill "4'9 or seven year old wichever comes 1st"??? I dont mind leaving my child in a car seat for a while and they dont seem to mind either but i really dont think they were saying how unsave cars are or that car seats are safer. according to new studies new cars restraint systems are in fact not as safe as they were 20 years ago when cars were actually saver and held better in crashes..now its all fiberglass outside and lighter frames they dont absorb as much of the impact. like a 1980 buick regal would have lol..

I have a child that just turned five years old in June, however she weighs 45 pounds. Her family don`t to put her in a boster seat any more thinking because of her weight she no longer needs a boster seat. What can I tell them or what can I do to stop this.I am concerened about the childs saftey. Thank You, concerned daycare provider.

NY state law on seat belts in the back seat is anyone under the age 18 must wear a seat belt or the driver gets a ticket if older they get the ticket personally from what I know. BUT the rule in my car is everyone in my car wears it cause in an accident anyone not belted in can harm the rest of the passengers by becoming a moving object.


ALSO for the Concerend Daycare Worker You can explain this to the parents that its the law but what they do on their own time is their issue. The most you can do is call child services and report it OR you can contact the local police department and inform an officer and see if you can work it out for the cop to be on your street when they come to pick the child up and that way he can watch and see them put her in the car with out the car seat and watch them pull away and then pull them over and you will never be known for reporting in. BUT as for you car you HAVE to have her in a seat cause if not you get in trouble as she is in yoru care and your car.

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