Parents and caregivers who transport children in the state of Ohio need to be aware of Ohio car seat laws. While the law is specific, it’s more than just following the letter of the law that’s important here. Protecting our children should be at the top of our priority list.

The official law governing Ohio’s child restraint system is defined in section 4511.81 of the Ohio Revised Code.

In brief, the law requires that all children less than four years of age and/or who weighs less than 40 pounds, when being transported in a motor vehicle must be secured in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions in a child restraint system that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards.

Effective October 7, 2009, according to a press release by the Ohio Department of Health,  Ohio car seat laws changed to stipulate that children younger than eight years old, unless they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall, must use a booster seat. Children aged eight to 15 years of age must use a safety seat or a seat belt.

Appropriate child safety seats include infant seats, convertible seats, forward-facing seats, booster seats and other federally approved safety devices.

Violation of Ohio car seat laws carries a maximum fine of $75 for a first offense.

Where to have Car Seats Inspected

The Ohio Department of Public Safety has a list of Ohio child passenger safety coordinators, by region and county, that can be helpful to parents or caregivers looking for where they can have a child safety seat installed or inspected.

Child Passenger Seats Provided to Low-Income Ohioans

Ohio also helps low-income individuals living in Ohio to obtain child passenger safety seats through its Ohio Buckles Buckeyes (OBB) program. During the past five years, the program has distributed more than 20,000 child safety and booster seats to eligible Ohioans. For more information and to find a nearby OBB program, contact OBB at 1-800-755-GROW (4769).

Other useful information, resources and links are available on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) site, Safercar.gov. Definitely check out the NHTSA Child Safety Ease-of-Use Ratings, information on LATCH restraint system, registering your car seat to receive recall notifications, where to find car seat inspection stations, and more.

Remember, the safest place for all children is in the back seat. When using car seats to comply with Ohio car seat laws, always be sure to read the child restraint instructions provided by the manufacturer, as well as to familiarize yourself with how child restraint systems work in your vehicle by reviewing your owner’s manual.

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