Car Seat Laws 2023, updated on April 2, 2023 – After analyzing over 10 years of vehicle crash data, the American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded: “The most dangerous thing that U.S. children do as part of daily life is ride in a car. Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for children 4 years and older.” 2023 Car Seat Laws helps parents understand child passenger safety laws and recommendations.
2023 Car Seat Laws
What are the child passenger safety laws and recommendations?
As of July 2019, 12 states have adopted this law: “Children are to ride in a rear-facing safety seat until the age of two or the child reaches the minimum weight limit for a forward-facing safety seat as prescribed by the manufacturer of the safety seat.” The states are: Virginia, California, Connecticut, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Carolina.
As of January 1, 2022 Nevada has also added the “rear facing til 2 years old” law for child passengers.
It’s important to remember that as of August 2018, the CDC now recommends that rear-facing child safety seats be used for infants and toddlers from ages 2 -4 years old. For the best possible protection, infants and toddlers should be buckled in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat, until they reach the maximum weight and/or height limits of their car seat. While not the law in every state, it is a national recommendation.
Which car seat is the safest?
According to SafeWise.com the best overall child carseat remains the Graco 4Ever Delux. This is because it is a 4 in 1 seat made to take children from infancy through age 10. The complete 2023 list is here however. Reading the manual and having the seat properly installed is just as important as safety ratings. Also remember it’s okay for infants to fall asleep in a car seat but it’s not okay for them to sleep in their carseat for long periods or overnight.
While car seats themselves are safe, it has been reported in many accidents that seats have been installed too loosely or at an incorrect angle. To be sure your seat is installed correctly, visit SafeKids.org to find a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. The website also lists inspection stations in your area.
What about Uber or Lyft…can my baby ride?
Uber and Lyft offer rides with actual carseats in New York City only. Drivers must pass special safety You must request “car seat mode” in each app. 2023 Car Seat Laws on Lyft’s website states that in NYC drivers are responsible for:
- Safely installing and uninstalling car seats at the beginning and end of each ride
- Taking the test on how to properly install and maintain car seat
- Recognizing whether their car seat is in proper working condition
If you’re in any other city, you must use and install your own seat. The driver is not responsible for installing the seat. Of course, ride share services are bound by their states child passenger safety laws regardless of company policy.
2023 Car Seat Laws – What if I’m traveling between states with my baby?
Each state/jurisdiction has its own laws and it is the driver’s responsibility to know the laws in each state. Check your state and any state’s you plan to drive to below:
2023 Car Seat Laws, Other Safety Considerations
- Secure Your Belongings: Most of us spend lots of time in the car, especially if we’re the main transportation for our little ones. If you’re driving kids around, chances are your center console looks something like this:
And even if you’re not driving kids, it’s not unusual to have snacks, a water bottle and a phone within arms reach. Secure your belongings in the console, glove compartment or other safe place in the vehicle when traveling. These items can become projectiles in an accident or even if you just stop short. This goes for mirrors and other loose items in the back seats.
- Expect the Unexpected – Keep a small bag with essentials in the trunk. Extra diapers, water, formula if baby uses it, wipes and snacks for you too. This blog details what should be packed in a 72 hour emergency prep kit for infants if you want to follow FEMA and DHS recommendations. You never know when a traffic accident or other unforeseen event might cause you to have to stay on the road.
- Seatbelts for Everyone – This is an obvious one but remember to have everyone buckle up before the car is in motion…even grown ups!
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