Parents and caregivers living in Oregon may be unaware that Oregon car seat laws changed effective January 2012. Stay up-to-date on what’s new by reviewing the recent changes here.

Our source for this information is the Oregon Department of Transportation website.

Oregon Safety Belt and Child Restraint Laws

What’s changed – Effective January 2012, current law requires children to move from a child seat to a booster after forty pounds. House Bill 3590 signed by the Governor June 9, 2011 will allow continued use of child seats up to the highest weight limit allowed by the seat manufacturer, as an alternative to boosters, for children over forty pounds but under age eight or less than 4-feet 9-inches tall.

Child Restraint Law – Children who are passengers must be restrained in approved child safety seats until they weigh forty pounds or reach the upper weight limit for the car seat that is in use. Infants are required to ride rear-facing until they reach both one year of age and weigh 20 pounds.

Booster Seat Law – Children over 40 pounds or who have reached the upper weight limit for their forward-facing car seat must use booster seats until they reach 4-feet 9-inches tall or age eight and the adult belt fits them correctly.

Should You Use a Belt or a Booster for Your Child?

The Oregon Department of Transportation site contains some useful information on how to determine if you can use a belt or still need to use a booster car seat for your child. Remember that belt fit varies greatly from one child to another and from one vehicle to another. This is especially important to keep in mind if you have multiple vehicles in the family that you use or your child is transported by others outside the family.

If your child meets the state’s legal requirements for moving from a booster seat to a safety belt but you still have doubts about whether your child fits the belt in your family car, you can use the following test to help ease your mind.

Place your child in the car without a booster seat and answer the following questions. You must answer yes to all of them before you can consider safely moving your child from a booster seat. If you answer no to any of them, you must continue to use a booster seat for your child.

  1. Can your child sit all the way back against the vehicle seat?
  2. Do your child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the seat?
  3. What about the shoulder belt, does it cross the child’s shoulder between the neck and arm?
  4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the child’s thighs?
  5. Can the child stay comfortably seated like this for the whole trip?

For the complete and specific wording of the Oregon state statute, click here.  Note that you will need to scroll to the appropriate statute number to read the actual text for the Oregon car seat laws.

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