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As a parent of an infant and a toddler, I try to stay up to date on car seat laws and recommendations. Like most parents, my kids’ safety is my top priority, especially when we’re in the car. And even though I try to drive as safely as possible, I know that there is only so much I can control. Because of this, I adhere as closely to the recommendations for car seat safety as I can. Here are the Ohio car seat laws as of 2020 and the latest recommendations on car seat safety.
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Who needs to be in a car seat?
To start, let’s cover some of the basics. According to the Ohio Revised Code 4511.8, children under the age of 4 and children under the weight of 40 pounds need to be secured in a car seat properly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This means that if your child meets either of these criteria, they should be in a car seat. Make sure to check your specific car seat’s manufacturer’s instructions, as they will each vary in what weight and height they can carry safely.
How long should my child’s car seat be rear-facing in Ohio?
Many parents are not aware of the recommendations for rear facing car seats, but this is one of the more important things to consider regarding car seat safety. The Ohio law on car seat safety does not specify how long a child should remain rear-facing, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain in rear-facing car seats as long as possible, allowing that they still meet the manufacturer’s guidelines for height and weight.
The AAP recommends this for medical reasons, stating that “when a child rides rear-facing, the head, neck, and spine are all supported by the hard shell of the car safety seat, allowing the car seat to absorb most of the crash forces, and protecting the most vulnerable parts of the body. When children ride forward-facing, their bodies are restrained by the harness straps, but their heads – which for toddlers are disproportionately large and heavy – are thrown forward, possibly resulting in spine and head injuries.” Infants and toddlers are built differently than adults, and being aware of these differences can keep them safe.
Who needs to be in a booster seat?
Many parents are surprised by the recommendations for booster seats. This is because many of us likely did not have to ride in booster seats as children for long, if at all. According to the Ohio Revised Code 4511.8, children under the age of eight and children who are less than four feet 9 inches in height are required to be properly secured in a booster seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
In addition, children between the ages of eight and fifteen are required to be properly secured in an occupant restraining device, which is just another term for a seat belt. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that up until the age of 13, children should be seated in the back seats of a car. Even though these recommendations might seem a bit extreme, it is worth it to take as many precautions as necessary to keep our kids safe.
What is the consequence of breaking this law?
Hopefully, your motivation for keeping your kids safe extends beyond the punishment associated with breaking the law, but I will include the info anyway. According to the Ohio Revised Code 4511.8, breaking this law is considered a minor misdemeanor and results in a fine of between twenty-five dollars and seventy-five dollars.
Why does car seat safety matter?
This topic is important to all parents, but especially to parents in Ohio. According to the Ohio Department of Health, the leading cause of death for children between 4 and 7 years in Ohio is related to car accidents. Additionally, Ohio is among the lowest in the country as far as booster seat use goes. Let’s change these statistics. Share this information with your friends. You’d be surprised how many people are not aware of the basics of car seat safety. So spread the word!
Car seat safety is a must. To best protect your children, keep them rear facing for as long as possible, use booster seats when they no longer fit their car seats and put children under the age of 13 in the back of the car for best results. And, make sure that you install the car seats correctly. An incorrectly installed car seat is of little use. Taking these extra precautions can make all the difference to your family’s safety.
Note: The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice. This information was found by searching online for the most recent information. We do not offer any guarantee to its authenticity. We urge you to research these matters on your own and draw your own conclusions.