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What are the Rules for Having a Child in a Seat Belt?

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There are distinct rules regulating child safety in motor vehicles.  Failure to properly observe those rules can result in a hefty ticket, points against your license, and opening yourself to years of insurance increases.

Several municipalities around the State have increased their enforcement of these rules and have gone so far as to have road side check points to check if children are properly seat belted.

Tough Love: due to the sensitive nature of these types of tickets, many prosecutors have drawn a line in the sand and have refused to plea bargain these tickets.  As such, you may be left with either pleading guilty or taking your case to trial.

Possible Defenses:  while the following may mitigate the situation, they are not legal defenses and will not result in a dismissal:
  • I didn't know my child should have been in the back seat;
  • My child wiggled out of the seat belt;
  • My child was on my lap; or
  • I left my booster chair in my other car.
According to the Stony Point New York Police children under 12 must be in the back seat.  They have provided this chart to help guide you through the rules regarding child safety.









Birth to one year and less than 22 lbs. 

Older than one year and over 20 lbs.-40 lbs.


Over 40 lbs. Ages 4-7, unless 4'9".



Infant only or rear-facing convertible

Convertible / Forward-facing


Belt positioning booster seat




Rear-facing only








Birth to one year and at least 20 lbs. in rear-facing seats Harness straps at or below shoulder level


Harness straps should be at or above shoulders Most seats require top slot for forward-facing


Belt positioning booster seats must be used with both lap and shoulder belt. Make sure the lap belt fits low and tight across the lap/ upper thigh area and the shoulder belt fits snugly, crossing the chest and shoulder to avoid abdominal injuries




All children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat


All children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat


All children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat


If you have been issued a child seat belt violation. Give us a call at 914-723-7900.

About Our Firm:  At Joseph P. Villanueva, Attorneys At Law we excel at getting tickets dismissed or reduced.  We have more than 20 years of legal experience and have gained a reputation among our peers as being superb lawyers.  Our team of traffic ticket defense lawyers is lead by Joseph P. Villanueva.  He is a former prosecutor.  Having a former prosecutor on your side can help in analyzing critical issues in your case.  This can make the difference in you keep your license or having your license suspended or revoked. Call us now 914-723-7900

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“I was extremely pleased with the friendly yet professional service that I received in resolving my legal issue.” Karen K.
“Joseph Villanueva and staff made the whole process so easy and gave me the peace of mind that I didn't receive points against my license. Well worth the money!” Linda P.
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