Updated Car Seat Laws 2017: Connecticut, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island and South Carolina

updated car seat laws

Six more states made updates to their child restraint laws this year. Some extended the rear facing requirements to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of keeping children rear facing up to age 2. Other states extended their requirements for “booster aged” children to keep children properly restrained longer.

We put “booster aged” in quotes because there are other options for older children which are belt positioning devices but not technically a booster seat, namely the RideSafer travel vest.

updated car seat lawsRemember the state laws are generally the minimum standard for car seat use. For safer travels with your little one, familiarize yourself with best practice recommendations and perhaps visit with a local child passenger safety technician to discuss your specific needs.

Connecticut

House Bill No. 7055 amends Sec. 14-100a (d) (1). The new car seat law extends the amount of time a child needs to remain rear facing and how long a child is required to use a child restraint. This law went into effect October 1, 2017.

What was it: Children 6 and younger, weighing less than 60 pounds must be in a federally approved child restraint. Infants must remain rear-facing until they are 1 year and 20 pounds. Children 7 years of age and weighing 60 pounds or more may be restrained in an appropriate child restraint or vehicle seat belt.

What is it now: Children 8 years of age and younger must be restrained as follows:

  • Children must remain in a rear-facing car seat with a 5-point harness until they are age 2 or 30 pounds.
  • Children 5 years of age or younger, but not less than 2, or weighing less than 40, but not less than 30 pounds, must use a rear-facing or forward-facing car seat with a 5-point harness or booster seat.
  • Children 8 year of age or younger, but not less than 5, or weighing less than 60 pounds, but not less than 40 pounds, are required to use a rear-facing or forward-facing car seat with a 5-point harness or booster seat.
  • A rear facing car seat shall not be used in the front seat of a vehicle.
  • A child 8 or older and weighing 60 pounds or more shall be restrained by an appropriate child restraint or seat belt.

New York

A08100 amends Section 1229-c(1), NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law. The new car seat law adds specificity to the under age four section for how long a child is required to remain rear facing. This law will go into effect November 1, 2019.

What was it: Children under the age of four must be restrained in a specifically designed seat which meets FMVSS 213 and is either permanently affixed or affixed with a seat belt.

What is it now:

  • Children must remain in an appropriate child restraint system until the age of eight (8). An appropriate child restraint system is one that meets the child’s size and weight and the specifications of the manufacturer of such system. A child restraint system may be a child safety seat, harness, vest or a booster seat. SR4K note: This describes the intent of the law and indicates RideSafer is legal in New York. Specifically:
    • Children under the age of four must be restrained in a specifically designed seat which meets FMVSS 213 and is either permanently affixed or affixed with a seat belt.
    • The child restraint shall be rear facing if the child is under the age of 2 unless the child exceeds the weight and height recommendations set by the manufacturer of the rear-facing seat. (to be in effect 11/1/19)
  • Children under four but more than 40 pounds must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system installed with a lap-shoulder belt or a lap-only belt in the event there is not an available lap-shoulder belt in the vehicle.
  • Children four or older but younger than 8 must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system.
  • Children 8 through 16 must be restrained using a lap-shoulder belt.

North Dakota

The new car seat law extends the amount of time a child is required to use a child restraint and removes the lap-only exemption. This law went into effect August 1, 2017.

What was it: Children under the age of 7 are required to ride in a federally approved child restraint. A lap shoulder belt may be substituted for children under the age of 7 if the child weighs at least 80 pounds and is at least 57 inches tall. A lap belt may be used by children over 40 pounds who ride in vehicle with lap-only belts.

What is it now:

  • Children under 8 years of age must use a car seat based on manufacturer instructions.
  • If the child is younger than 8 but at least 57 inches tall (4? 9?) the child can correctly use the seat belt.
  • Children ages 8 to 17 must be properly secured in a seat belt or child restraint, if needed.

Oregon

House Bill 3404 amends 60-6,267. The new car seat law extends the amount of time a child needs to remain rear facing. This law went into effect May 26, 2017. Children who turned one prior to this date are grandfathered into the old law.

What was it: Children must remain in a rear-facing child restraint until they are one year of age and 20 pounds.

What is it now: Children must remain in a rear-facing child restraint until they are two years of age, regardless of weight, or if a child is older than two but weighs 20 pounds or less.

The rest remains as is.

Rhode Island

Bill2017-H 5456 amends Section 31-22-22. The new car seat law requires children to remain rear-facing until age 2. This law went into effect June 22, 2017.

What was it: Children under the age of 8, less than 57 inches and less than 80 pounds are required to be properly restrain in a child restraint system approved FMVSS213. If the child is under 8 but at least 57 inches or 80 pounds, the child can properly wear the seat belt or shoulder harness in any rear position of the car.

What is it now:

  • Children under the age of 8, less than 57 inches in height and less than 80 pounds shall be properly restrained in a child restraint system approved FMVSS 213.
  • All infants and toddlers under the age of 2 or weighing less than 30 pounds shall be restrained in a rear-facing car seat. All children 2 years of age or older or who have outgrown their rear-facing car seat by height or weight should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness up the maximum allowed by the child restraint manufacturer.
  • If the child is under 8 years old but at least 57 inches in height, or at least 80 pounds the child shall be properly wearing a safety belt and/or shoulder harness in any rear seating position of the motor vehicle.
  • Children more than 8 years but under 18 years of age in any seating position within a motor vehicle shall be properly wearing a safety belt and/or shoulder harness system.

South Carolina

Bill 3864 amends Title 56 Chapter 5 Article 47 SECTION 56-5-6410. The new car seat law provides more specificity about how long a child needs to remain rear facing and using a belt positioning device. This law went into effect May 19, 2017.

What was it: All children up to age 6 must ride correctly secured in a federally-approved child safety seat. Children ages 6 to 18 must ride secured in a safety belt or child safety seat.

What is it now: Children under 8 years of age shall be properly secured as follows:

  • Children from birth to 2 years old must be secured in a rear-facing car seat which meets federal standards in the rear vehicle seat until the child exceeds the height or weight limit allowed by the manufacturer of the child restraint being used.
  • Children at least 2, or under if they’ve outgrown their rear-facing car seat, must be secured in a forward-facing car seat with a harness in the rear vehicle seat until the child exceeds the height or weight limit allowed by the manufacturer of the child restraint being used.
  • A child at least 4 years old who has outgrown their forward-facing car seat must be secured by a belt-positioning booster seat secured in a rear seat of the vehicle with a lap-shoulder belt until they can meet the height and fit requirements for an adult safety seat belt.
  • A child at least 8 years of age and at least 57 inches tall may be restrained in an adult safety belt if the child can be secured properly:
    • the lap belt fits across the child’s thighs and hips and not across the abdomen;
    • the shoulder belt crosses the center of the child’s chest and not the neck; and
    • the child is able to sit with his back straight against the vehicle seat back cushion with his knees bent over the vehicle’s seat edge without slouching.

You can see further details, notes and the remainder of the car seat laws by state here.

By Amie Durocher, Creative Director at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Tech since 2004

Copyright 2017 Safe Ride 4 Kids. All rights reserved. This material may not be republished, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission. You’re welcome to link to Safe Ride 4 Kids or share on social media.

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1 Comment
  • Christina Jones
    Posted at 19:31h, 09 January Reply

    I’m loving the detail in the SC law! I wish arkansas would follow suit and update our way outdated laws!

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