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Tioga Public Health: Child Safety Seat Law Changes

Tioga County Public Health reminds parents that effective Friday, November 1, New York State Law will require all children under the age of two to
remain in a rear-facing car seat. Previously, the law only required them to remain rear-facing until their
first birthday.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children 13 tears old and younger. This is why it’s so important to make sure your child is properly restrained. There are three types of rear-facing car seat options: Infant Seats, Convertible Seats and All-in-One Seats.

Children outgrow their infant seat usually between six months to a year and a half, at which time parents need to switch to a convertible or all-in-one car seat. These types of seats can keep a child rear-facing until 40 or 50 pounds. Because a rear-facing car seat can help protect a child’s neck and spine in the event of a crash, they should be kept in that position until they reach the manufacturer’s maximum height or weight before switching to a forward-facing position.

The new New York State law requires children to remain in a:

  • Rear-facing car seat until at least age 2,
  • Forward-facing harness until at least age 4,
  • Booster seat until at least age 8.

Some other reminders to keep your child safe in a car are:

  • Always have your child properly restrained for every car ride.
  • Keep children in the back seat until at least age 13 where they are safest.
  • Avoid buying or using used car seats, since there is no way to know the history of the seat.
  • Never rush your child to the next type of car seat, as they lose some protection every time they
    switch to the next type of seat.
  • Do not put your child in a car seat while they are wearing a big winter coat; instead let them
    wear a thin fleece and put the coat back on when getting out of the vehicle.

When in doubt, get your car seats checked out. Call Tioga County Public Health at 607-687-8612 to
make sure your child is in the correct seat and that it is installed and being used correctly. Additional
fitting stations can be found by visiting