How will I know when my child is big enough for the seat belts in my car?
The New York State Occupant Restraint law requires that children under the age of four be restrained in a federally-approved child safety seat.
But, as a rule of thumb, a child is not ready for an 'adult' seat belt until he or she is at least 8 years old, 57 inches tall and weighs at least 100 pounds. It really depends on the size of the child, the shape of the vehicle seat and where the seat belts attach to the vehicle.
Have your child sit with his or her back and buttocks all the way back against the seat, fasten the seat belt, then look for these indicators:
- Does the shoulder portion of the seat belt fit snugly over the child's shoulder and across the chest, without resting high against the child's neck or jaw?
- Does the lap portion of the seat belt ride snugly across the child's hipbones or upper thighs, and NOT the child's abdomen? A lap belt that rides too high on a child's body can cause serious, even fatal, internal injuries in a crash.
- Do the child's knees fold comfortably over the edge of the seat? If they don't, the child is likely to edge forward into a more comfortable, but much more dangerous, position in which the lap belt crosses his or her abdomen.
- Can your child remain in the proper position for your entire trip?
If you answer no to any of these questions, your child is not ready to use the vehicle's safety belts.
Child Safety Seats Information and Pamphlet
Gives complete information about child safety seats - the law, use and misuse, installation mistakes, where to get help, FAQs and offers a downloadable brochure