What Every Parent Should Know About Child Car Seat Laws In Ohio

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child car seat laws in ohio
Updated September 1st 2020

Are you taking the right precautions to keep your children safe in the car? Child car seat laws in Ohio have gotten a lot stricter since you were in a child seat. According to a study done by Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, more than half of the children killed or seriously injured in car crashes were not properly using seatbelts or a child car seat. As of 2009, Ohio law requires children under 8 years old (or 4 feet, 9 inches tall) to use a belt-positioned child car seat or booster seat.

Why Isn’t a Seat Belt Enough?

Seat belts were designed around adult bodies and can leave a child at risk of serious injury or death in the event of a motor vehicle accident. A booster seat can raise the child up so that the shoulder belt fits correctly. The belt should be lying over the middle of the shoulder and the center of the child’s chest – the strongest parts of the child’s body. The booster seat should also help to position the lap belt across the child’s upper hips or thighs, not over his or her stomach. Without a child car seat or booster seat, the lap belt can ride up onto the stomach and cause hip, stomach, and serious spinal cord injuries that may result in lifelong paralysis if an accident were to occur.

Why are Child Car Seat Laws in Ohio Important?

Unfortunately, the reality is that many Ohio children are still not in booster seats. This results in motor vehicle accidents being the leading cause of death for Ohio children between the ages of 4 to 7 years of age, according the Office of Vital Statistics. Every day, about 5 children are killed and around 600 are injured in car accidents in the United States. Using a booster child car seat with a seat belt, rather than just a seat belt alone for a child under 8 can reduce the risk of serious injury by 70 percent!

Ohio Child Passenger Safety Laws

Parents and caregivers in Ohio are required by law to obey the additional following safety practices to help to ensure the children in their custody are safe on the road:

Child Car Seat Laws In Ohio
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  • Children less than 4 years old or 40 pounds must use a child safety seat meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.
  • Children less than 8 years old, unless they are at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall must use a booster seat.
  • Children ages 8-15 years must use a child safety seat or safety belt.

Fines will range from a minimum of $25 to a maximum of $75 per occurrence. A booster seat can be purchased for as little as $15. Don’t wait for a ticket!

Additional Safety Tips to Help Protect Your Child Passengers

  • Ensure your child is in the proper seat for his or her age, weight, and height
  • Have children under 13 ride in the backseats of the vehicle
  • Carefully read the instructions and owner’s manual for each child car seat before installing it in your vehicle
  • Check that you’ve used the right belt path for the seat belt or the lower anchors
  • Your child’s car seat should be installed tightly. It should not move more than an inch from side-to-side or forwards-and-backwards
  • Harness straps of the child car seat should be snug around your child’s body. You should not be able to pinch any slack in the harness
  • If the the child car seat has a plastic or metal retainer clip, adjust it to be level with the child’s armpits
  • Be sure to replace any child safety seat that is cracked, missing parts, or has worn straps. Some seats have expiration dates, so be sure to inspect the device before using.

When Should Your Child Move From a Child Car Seat to Using a Regular Seat Belt?

A booster seat is the next step up from a standard child car seat. It’s designed to place the child higher on the vehicle seat so that the lap and shoulder belt fit correctly. Seat belt fit varies from car to car and person to person. It’s safest for your child to remain in a booster seat until the adult seat belt fits him/her properly. You can safely transition your child to using just a regular seat belt when:

  • Your child is tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with his or her knees bent at the edge of the seat without slouching
  • The shoulder belt lies in the middle of his or her chest and shoulders, not near the neck or throat
  • The lap belt is  low and snug across the upper things, not the stomach region
  • Your child can stay in this position comfortably throughout the entire car trip

Filing an Auto Accident lawsuit

Even with the proper use of booster seats and child car seats, children are still at a high risk to endure injury in the state of Ohio because of negligent and reckless drivers.

If you want to know more about this subject or you’re interested in making a legal claim because you or your child was injured in a serious motor vehicle accident, Ohio Tiger has detailed advice on how you can proceed to get the compensation you deserve.


Quick Answers

What is the Car Seat Law in Ohio?

Children less than 4 years old or 40 pounds must use a child safety seat meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.
Children less than 8 years old, unless they are at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall must use a booster seat.
Children ages 8-15 years must use a child safety seat or safety belt.

When Should My Child Use an Adult Seat?

Your child is tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with his or her knees bent at the edge of the seat without slouching
The shoulder belt lies in the middle of his or her chest and shoulders, not near the neck or throat
The lap belt is  low and snug across the upper things, not the stomach region
Your child can stay in this position comfortably throughout the entire car trip

What Else Can I Do to Protect My Child?

Ensure your child is in the proper seat for his or her age, weight, and height
Have children under 13 ride in the backseats of the vehicle
Carefully read the instructions and owner’s manual for each child car seat before installing it in your vehicle
Check that you’ve used the right belt path for the seat belt or the lower anchors
Your child’s car seat should be installed tightly. It should not move more than an inch from side-to-side or forwards-and-backwards
Harness straps of the child car seat should be snug around your child’s body. You should not be able to pinch any slack in the harness
If the the child car seat has a plastic or metal retainer clip, adjust it to be level with the child’s armpits
Be sure to replace any child safety seat that is cracked, missing parts, or has worn straps. Some seats have expiration dates, so be sure to inspect the device before using.


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