Category Archives: Car Seat Safety

When Can Kids Sit in Front Seat in NY?

Different states have different laws regarding when a child can sit in the front seat. Many states have laws based on height, weight or age so it is important to check the law in your state.

New York State does not have a law preventing kids from sitting in the front seat but it is highly recommended that all kids 12 and under ride properly restrained in the back seat.

The child passenger safety law in NY states that children must be at least 4 feet 9 inches in order to use the vehicle’s seat belt. If your child has outgrown their child safety seat but is too small to use an adult seat belt safely, he must use a booster seat.

Car Seat Recommendations

  • To maximize your child’s safety, keep him in the car seat for as long as possible, until the child reaches the height and weight requirements set by the car seat manufacturer.
  • Your child should ride in the back seat at least through age 12.
  • Keep your child in a booster seat until he is big enough to fit in an adult safety belt properly. The seat belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and across the upper thighs
  • The shoulder belt should not be under your child’s arms or behind his back. If the shoulder belt does not fit properly, he may need to use a belt-positioning booster seat.

When Can a Child Sit in the Front Seat?

The safest spot for anyone in a vehicle is the middle of the back seat. Children, regardless of age, should especially ride in the back seat for as long as possible. Many states have laws for when a child can ride in the front seat, based on height, weight or age so it is important to check the law in your state.

Front Seat Requirements

States that use height as a requirement usually state 4 feet 9 inches as the minimum height to sit in the front seat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent, no child under the age of 13 should sit in the front seat.

The Dangers of Riding in the Front Seat

When a child rides in the back seat rather than the front, his risk of injury in an accident reduces by a third. In a head-on crash, which is the most common and deadliest type of collision, a child riding in the front seat can be thrown into the vehicle’s dashboard or even through the windshield. There’s also a greater risk of being hurt by objects thrown into the car if he’s sitting in the front rather than the back.

In addition, air bags, designed to protect front seat passengers, can cause severe injuries to children if they inflate. According to the Auto Safety Expert website, if a child is below the height requirement, the inflating airbag can hit him in the face, chest, head, or neck at speeds of 90 – 210 miles per hour. More than a hundred children have been killed by air bags in recent years nationwide. Many of those deaths were actually in slow-speed collisions that should have been minor. Air bags pose a huge risk to infants and toddlers in rear-facing car seats because the back of their car seat is very close to the car dashboard.

Car Seat Safety

It is typically safer for a child of any age to ride in the back seat of any car. However, if your back seat only has lap belts and no shoulder restraints and your child uses a booster seat, he is actually safer in the front seat than in the back seat. If you have to transport multiple children, the youngest child should ride in the back seat.

In spite of all the dangers, if you have to let your child under the age of 13 ride in the front seat, make sure he uses both the shoulder and lap belts. The lap belt needs to fit low across his pelvis and the shoulder belt should not cut across his neck. The shoulder belt should never be behind his back. Move the seat back away from the car dashboard as far as possible. Also, disable the front seat passenger side’s airbag. If your car does not have a switch to turn off the airbag, you can get one installed.

Recaro Car Seat Recall

After recent testing, the car seat manufacturer, Recaro, found that a particular batch of its fix base – used primarily on the Optia child seat and the Privia infant carrier – did not meet certain safety standards. Recaro has issued an urgent product recall.

Recaro says the fix bases went through “rigorous testing” that is a higher level than the UN approval standard, but results found that on the Optia car seat, the hooks connecting the Recaro fix base and the car seat became deformed. If carrying a lot of weight, this deformation could cause the seat and the base to separate from each other.


Recaro Car Seat Base Being Recalled

Is your car seat recalled?

The affected batch is those with the serial numbers ER01000000, up to and including ER01017825. No other Recaro fix bases are affected.

To check to see if your car seat is recalled, enter your serial number on the Recaro Child Safety website. You can find your serial number on a sticker located on the underside of your Recaro fix base.

Recaro is offering a free fix base replacement to parents who have one of these recalled products. If your fix base matches with the serial numbers above, contact Recaro Child Safety to exchange the product.

Although the tests were conducted on the Optia car seat, Recaro recommends replacing the fix base if it’s used with the Privia car seat, as well as the Optia. Customers can find more information on the replacement program on Recaro Child Safety’s website.

How safe is your car seat?

Even if you do not own a Recaro car seat, you should still find out if there has been any recall for the car seat that you own that you may not be aware of. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem at no cost. If your child’s safety seat was recalled, get it fixed right away. Although some defects are minor, some are quite serious. All problems should be corrected as soon as possible. You do not want to risk the chance of possibility injuring your child.

You can find out by calling the manufacturer or contacting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety hotline at 888-327-4236. Make sure your car seat has a label with the model number and date of manufacture so that you can check to see if the seat has been recalled.

Every car seat is different, so always read the user guide and check the expiration date stamped on the plastic. Most car seats last between 5-9 years after they were manufactured, not when they were bought.

Check your car seat to see if there are any defects, such as cracks on the plastic. Make sure the car seat you are using has never been used in a crash. If you are using a used car seat from a friend or relative, find out about its history. Ask them for a detailed instruction booklet, or order it from the manufacturer if they do not have it, and make sure that the seat is not missing any parts. Ensure that you installed the car seat properly and are using it correctly.

It’s also helpful to know your state’s child car seat laws and ensure that you are doing everything possible to keep your child riding safe!