According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic crashes are the leading cause of death and disability for children (aged 0-14) in the United States. But most of these deaths can be prevented. When we put our children in the car, we owe it to them to give them the safest experience possible.
If you live in Cincinnati and transport children in your vehicle, you need to follow the Ohio car and booster seat laws our state requires all drivers to follow.
Car seats and booster seats can have an enormous protective effect when car crashes occur. Having a properly-fitted vehicle restraint device can be the difference between your child surviving a car accident or not.
Read on to learn the Ohio car and booster seat laws you need to know as a parent or caregiver.
Child Passenger Safety Laws in Ohio
Ohio state law requires that children be secured in a safety seat, booster seat, or appropriately-fitting seat belt when riding in a motor vehicle. The type of safety restraint a child requires is based on height, weight, and age.
Under Ohio law, the following rules apply to any child who is being transported in a motor vehicle (except for exempt vehicles like taxis and ambulances):
- Children under 4 years of age OR less than 40 pounds must use a child’s car seat that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards.
- Children 4-8 years old who weigh 40 pounds or more and are shorter than 4 feet 9 inches are required to use a booster seat or other approved safety seat.
- Children between 8 and 15 must wear properly-fitted seat belts no matter which seat they are using in the vehicle.
Important Safety Guidelines for Child Car Travel in Ohio
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for Ohio children aged 4 to 7 years, according to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).
To help in the fight to prevent needless childhood car crash fatalities, the ODH publishes a series of important child safety recommendations to help keep your infant, toddler, kid, or young teen safest on every ride. Make sure your child is safely following these guidelines whether traveling with you or another driver:
- An infant or young child should remain in a rear-facing car seat for as long as they safely can. Only graduate your child to a forward-facing five-point harness car seat when they pass the weight and height restrictions for the product.
- Keep your child in a car seat for as long as possible, up to the height and weight limits imposed by the product manufacturer. Don’t try to move your child up to a booster seat or seat belt when they are “almost there.”
- Let your child continue to use a booster seat until the vehicle’s seat belts fit properly, even if they are over 8 years old.
- A child should only be allowed to use a seat belt alone when the belt fits snug and flat, falling across the child’s chest (never over the neck or throat) and low over the hips (not the belly).
- A child is only ready to move out of a booster seat when they are tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with their knees bent at the edge of the seat without slouching forward and can remain comfortably in this position for the entirety of the car trip.
- Children under 13 years of age should always sit in the back seat of the vehicle, regardless of whether your car has passenger-side air bags.
- Not all children develop at the same rate. Children with special health care needs (such as poor head and neck control) may need to use a rear-facing or five-point harness car seat longer than other children of the same age.
- Children with behavioral concerns may also benefit from using a car or booster seat longer than other children.
If you have any questions about Ohio car and booster seat laws, need help choosing an appropriate vehicle safety device, or are looking for more information about the resources available to families, contact The Ohio Department of Health by completing an online form or calling (614) 466-3543. Through the Department’s Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Program, the Ohio Buckles Buckeyes (OBB) program also provides child safety seats and booster seats to eligible families in Hamilton County and all 88 Ohio counties.
Ohio Attorneys Who Fight for Victims’ Rights
Despite our best efforts as parents, we can’t protect our children from all the world’s dangers. At Thomas Law Offices personal injury law firm, we defend the rights of those who were injured because someone else acted wrongly.
Part of our job is working tirelessly to prevent the preventable—through education, community service, and other opportunities that increase awareness of the issues plaguing our communities and provide solutions to solve them. The other part of our job is helping people put their lives back together when the preventable happens.
Whether a negligent motorist forced you into a collision or a manufacturing defect caused a car or booster seat to fail your child when they needed it most, we are ready to protect you.
If you need help with a legal matter or have questions about a personal injury case, contact our office for a free case consultation with a qualified attorney.