Child Passenger Safety

Ohio's Law

  • All Children up to 4 years AND 40 pounds must be in a child restraint system.
  • All Infants must be rear facing until they are one year old AND weigh 20pounds.
Child safety experts encourage parents to use booster seats for children over 4 years up to 8 years AND 80 pounds.
A Child may safely use a seat belt when they've grown to fit the belt properly. The belt should lie across the chest, NOT the neck or throat. The lap belt must be low and snug across the thighs, NOT the stomach. Also, the child should be tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with their legs bent at the knees and feet hanging down. SEAT BELTS ARE MADE FOR ADULTS. If the belt does not properly fit your child, use a booster seat. Normally, the seat belt fits when a child reaches a height of 4'9", 57", and is between the ages of 8-12 years. Experts also recommend all children ride in the back seat until reaching the age of 12 years.

Types of Seats:

  • Infant Seats
    • Can only be used rear facing.
    • Are used for babies from birth or 5 pounds and up to 20 or 22 pounds, depending on the car seat manufacturer's directions.
    • Never place a rear facing seat in front of an airbag.
    • Harness straps should be in the slots at or below your baby's shoulders.
    • Most infant seats require the carrying handle to be down during travel. Follow all manufacturer directions.

Infant Car Seat
  • Convertible Seat
    • A convertible car seat is one that can be used for infants to face the rear of the vehicle, and for toddlers to face the front of the car. Convertible car seats have a 5-point harness built into the seat to secure the baby. Less commonly, a convertible car seat may have an overhead shield system that pulls over baby's head.
  • Convertible Rear Facing Seat
    • Follow manufacturer directions.
    • Harness straps in slots same as infant seats.
    • Seat is in a reclining position.
    • Route the seat belt in rear-facing belt path.
    • Never place a rear facing seat in front of an airbag.

Rear Facing Car Seat
  • Convertible Front Facing Seats
    • Harness straps should be in the slots at or above your child's shoulders.
    • Make sure the car seat is in an upright position.
    • Route the seatbelt through the belt path marked forward facing.
    • Can only be used for children at least 1 year old and weighing over 20 pounds.
    • Can be used with lap belt only OR lap and should belts.
Front Facing Car Seat
  • Booster Seats
    • Belt positioning boosters are used with lap/shoulder belts. The booster raises your child so the safety belt fits properly. This protects your child's upper body and head.
    • Shield boosters have not been certified by their manufacturers for use with children weighing more than 40 pounds, based on Federal motor vehicle safety standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
    • New Ohio Booster Seat Law

Booster Car Seat

Is Your Child Buckled Correctly?

  • Be sure to use the correct harness slots.
  • Keep the harness snug.
  • Place the plastic harness clip, if provided, at armpit level to hold theshoulder straps in place.
  • Make sure the straps are flat and not twisted.
  • Dress your baby in clothes allowing the straps to go between their legs.
  • In cold weather, tuck blankets around your baby after adjusting the harness straps snugly. Never place blankets under the baby.
  • Make sure your car seat is facing the correct direction.
  • Make sure the belt is routed through the correct belt path.
  • The car seat should not move more than an inch from side to side. This ischecked by tugging at the base of the seat, NOT at the top.
  • If you are able to move the car seat more than one inch, try another seatbelt or CONTACT A CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY TECHNICIAN FOR ASSISTANCE.
  • If your infant's head flops forward, the car seat may not be reclinedenough. Recline as close to 45 degrees as possible.

DO NOT Use a Child Safety Seat ...

  • If the seat is too old - Look on the label for the date it was made. If it is more than 10 years old it should not be used. Manufacturers recommendsafety seats be used for 5-6 years.
  • If it has been in a crash - The seat may be weakened. Even if it looks fine. Do not use if you do not know the full history of the seat.
  • If it does not have a label with the date of manufacture, seat name, or model number - This information is needed to check recalls.
  • If it does not come with instructions.

Related Links

For more information on child passenger safety please visit the CDC's child passenger safety web page.