Ohio Car Seat Laws

According to Ohio state laws, infants are to be placed in a rear-facing seat and at the back until they reach the acceptable height, weight, and age to advance to another seat type. This law is necessary for keeping your child safe and reducing the risk of injuries during a crash or accident.

As parents, we are always putting extra effort and spending hundreds of dollars to keep our children comfortable and safe. One of those things we buy are car seats. Whether it is a convertible, rear-facing, forward-facing, or booster seat, we are ready to invest any amount just to keep our children safe and comfortable on long and short rides.

But we don’t always know everything, especially when it comes to the law, hence why I have researched the Ohio Car Seat laws to help you use the seat according to the laws of the Buckeye State.

According to data from the state government, accidents are the leading cause of death and injuries among ages between 4-7 in Ohio.

These laws are made to help to reduce such unfortunate statistics. Ensure to read each law carefully as disobedience to the law attracts fines.

Ohio Car Seat Laws Based on Seat Type

Rear-facing Position

According to Ohio state laws, infants are to be placed in a rear-facing seat and at the back until they reach the acceptable height, weight, and age to advance to another seat type. This law is necessary for keeping your child safe and reducing the risk of injuries during a crash or accident.

Forward-facing position

Starting from age 2, children can advance to the forward-facing position whilst still under 40 pounds up until their 8th birthday. The forward-facing position provides more room for your baby to be comfortable. However, you’ll need to ensure the seat is protected with a five-point harness system.

Booster seats

According to Ohio car seat laws, children who have outgrown the specifications of the forward-facing car seat should advance to the booster car seat. The child must be properly strapped with lap and shoulder belts to safely secure the child.

 

What Ohio car seat laws say about sitting in the front

Children from age 13 and above are allowed by Ohio car seat laws to sit in front if they use the seat belt properly. On the other hand, the law is firm about not allowing younger children to ride in front because of the dangers involved, even when a tight seat belt is used.

The force of the airbag hitting an underdeveloped child’s chest can cause major damage and serious health issues. Therefore, any child below age 13 must ride in the back seat, strapped with the seat belt.

 

Fines for disobeying Ohio car seat laws

There are no laws without prosecutions and fines. That is the same for Ohio car seat laws. The fines for disobeying any of the above Ohio car seat laws will result in a fine between $25-$75.

But there is something different about the Ohio state fines. The money just doesn’t go to the government but is used to provide car seats to low-income families. However, that’s not an excuse to disobey the law and endanger your child’s life.

 

Common mistakes to avoid while using a car seat in Ohio

Aside from the clearly stated laws, there are several car seat mistakes to avoid if you want to be in the good book of the authorities and ensure the safety of your child while driving in Ohio.

 

Don’t treat two different seats the same way

Parents in Ohio should not treat two different car seats the same way because they have different specifications, dimensions, and functions. While they can be easily identified, most parents find it quite difficult to use them differently, hence using a forward-facing car seat for an infant.

This will attract a fine and may even put your child in grave danger. To avoid such mistakes and consequences, ensure you read the instructions and descriptions that are on the car seat before installation.

You should also check the car seat’s website for additional information that may not be included in the product. I recommend checking the website every month for any upgrade to the information database and to see if the seat has been recalled.

 

Ensure you install the seat correctly

The leading cause of injuries whilst using a car seat is incorrect installation and it would surprise you to know a lot of parents are guilty of this mistake.

Poor installation of car seats, however, should not be condoled at all. As a parent who cares about the safety of their children, you must always read the installation manual before you commence the installation process.

If it is not clear enough, then watch YouTube videos or ask for professional help. Improper installation will leave the seat loose and prone to immediate crash whenever there is a slight impact on the vehicle. Always test the seat before putting your child in it.

 

Don’t keep your baby in the car for more than 2 hours

If you haven’t heard about the 2-hour rule, now is the best time to know what it is. According to the Ohio state government, parents should not leave children inside the vehicle for over 2 hours, doing so may attract a fine, besides it is dangerous for the child.

You may think it is common sense to remove children from an upright position after a long time of sitting, but most parents simply want their children to keep relaxing.

This prompts them to leave children in their car seats for too long. What’s the consequence? Leaving a child in an upright position for an extended period has a negative effect on the child’s spine.

And for a developing baby, you really don’t want that. It can cause severe pain and can affect the child later in life if it isn’t quickly diagnosed.

Another problem associated with sitting for too long in an upright position is restricted airflow for the baby. Once again, that’s a terrible consequence you don’t want on your baby.

A baby needs to be stretched as much as possible and a car seat doesn’t provide that much freedom. So, be sure to remove your baby as often as possible.

Use the car seat sparingly as long as your baby is still below 4 months. In addition, always check up on your baby in the back seat. Even 5 minutes of sitting can cause discomfort for your baby.

So if you notice any discomfort, quickly park your vehicle and readjust the baby’s position or allow the baby to stretch before continuing your ride.

Changing car seats too soon

Parents are guilty of rushing their children through the various stages of car seats, but that has proven to be dire consequences.

Rear-facing car seats are built for infants below 40 pounds, which means you should leave them in that position for that long. Only advance to the next stage when they have surpassed that weight restriction.

The same can be said for moving from a forward-facing position to booster seats, and from the booster to the adult seat belt.

Jumping each stage because of personal reasons or simply because you want your child to be more comfortable will not only lead to a fine but will also put your dear child’s life in danger. To avoid such dire consequences, always read the instructions and descriptions on the car seat.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I smoke while my child is in the car?

While we all know that smoking is bad for our respiratory health, there are no laws prohibiting smoking in vehicles or around children in certain places.

You cannot light a cigarette in a school or other establishments designed for kids alone, but when it comes to your private home or vehicle, there is no one stopping you.

In Ohio, there are no laws regulating smoking in the car, however, a lawmaker is about to make that a thing of the past. He is proposing up to a $750 fine for smoking in a car with children below the age of 6.

Once the bill is passed and becomes law, parents will have to restrict their smoking routine to anywhere besides their underdeveloped children’s lungs.

For the time being, I advise you to heed the advice of medical practitioners and keep any tobacco product as far away from your baby as possible.

The smoke can have dire effects on their underdeveloped lungs and may cause respiratory problems, and severe health conditions such as cancer. You wouldn’t want anything happening to your dear child, would you?

 

Should my 6-year-old use a five-point harness system?

According to the NHTSA, children in forward-facing car seats must use the five-point harness system for maximum security. Not every car seat has a five-point harness system, so you may have to check that the seat is equipped with a five-point harness before making your purchase.

 

Conclusively, Ohio car seat laws are formulated with children of all ages, weights, and heights in mind as we have seen. They are in place to keep your child safe and secure, and following each law to the latter saves you from having troubles with law enforcement as well as keeps your baby safe all the time. In addition, always ensure you get a quality car seat to improve your child’s safety.