Cherry Hill lawmaker pushes for upgrading child car seat standards in N.J.

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(Photo via ShutterStock)

A New Jersey lawmaker says the state’s child seat belt laws are antiquated, and he’s introduced legislation to update them.

Sen. Jim Beach’s bill would require children younger than 2 who weigh less than 30 pounds to be secured in a five-point harness seat and face the rear of a vehicle. The seat for kids between 2 and 4 could face either the rear or the front.

“The car seats that we have now are just the strap-ins, and this is much more restraining where it’s crossed,” said Beach, D-Camden. “There’s five points, obviously, rather than the four points, and there’s much less of a chance for whiplash.”

Children between 4 and 8 would have to be in a five-point harness seat or a booster seat.

The bill also strengthens the financial penalties and removes a provision that allowed some noncompliant car seats.

“Our present laws are antiquated, and this updates everything,” Beach said. “So what we’ve basically done has moved toward the federal standards that exist and what’s been recommended by pediatricians around the country.”

Beach said he hopes the measure will be put on the fast track so the Legislature votes on it before summer.

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