Oklahoma car seat law states that children between 0 and 2 must be properly restrained in a rear-facing car seat. It also mentions that children must be in car seats until they’re at least 4 years old, at which point they can graduate to booster seats.
As a mom, it’s important to follow Oklahoma’s car seat laws to ensure the safety of our children while traveling. These laws are in place to protect children in the event of a crash or sudden stop, and as responsible parents, we must prioritize our kids’ safety by securing them properly every time we hit the road. By following these laws, we can reduce the risks of accidents and show our children that their safety is our top priority.
This article will explain everything you need to know about Ohio car seat laws for different car seats, the height and weight requirements, and the penalties for violating the laws.
Overview of Oklahoma’s Car Seat Laws
Ohio law states that children younger than 8 years and shorter than 4’9″ must be in their appropriate car seats, while children 8 years old or taller than 4’9″ can graduate to using a seat belt.
Oklahoma Car Seat Laws for Infants
Oklahoma law states that children under 2 must be properly secured in a rear-facing car seat. This can be an infant or a convertible car seat. Infants should always travel in the rear-facing position and remain that way until they exceed the car seat’s height and weight limits set by the manufacturer.
|Age||0 to 2 years old|
|Car Seat Type||Infant car seat or convertible car seat|
|Weight limit||Infant car seat: Up to 22 to 30 pounds (depending on the manufacturer)
Convertible car seat: Up to 40 pounds (depending on the manufacturer)
|Seat Direction||ALWAYS rear-facing|
|Harness Straps Position||Snug strap at or below shoulder level and chest clip to armpit level|
Using a rear-facing car seat in the back seat is the safest way to ride with your baby because, in case of a crash, the car seat cradles and moves with them, reducing the stress on the child’s neck and spinal cord.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children regardless of their age remain in rear-facing seats for as long as possible, preferably until they hit the weight limit.
Oklahoma Car Seat Laws for Children
According to Oklahoma law, children can ride in forward-facing car seats from 2 to 4. However, it’s recommended that you keep your child in a rear-facing position for as long as possible.
Children should switch to a forward-facing seat with a 5-point harness and top tether once they have reached the manufacturer’s rear-facing height or weight limit.
When you buy a car seat, be aware that your child may need a forward-facing harnessed seat with a greater height or weight limit before moving to a booster seat. In addition, not every child is ready for a booster seat.
|Age||2 to 4 years old|
|Car Seat Type||Convertible, all-in-one car seat, RideSafer Vest (for children 3 years old and up)|
|Weight limit||Up to 40 pounds (depending on the manufacturer)|
|Seat Direction||Rear or Forward-facing|
|Position||ALWAYS back seat|
|Harness Straps position||Snug strap at or just above shoulder level and chest clip to armpit level|
Always remember to use the tether. All forward-facing seats come with tether straps. In addition, cars made after September 2000 are legally required to have tether anchors (cars, minivans, SUVs).
The tether connects to the top of the car seat. It connects to an anchor point in the vehicle, usually on the rear shelf or seat back (every car is different, so check your owner’s manual for more information).
When an accident or sudden stop occurs, tethers keep the car seat and the child’s head from moving too far forward.
Using a tether until your child reaches the weight limit for the tether anchor would be best. Find out about the weight limit and where the tether anchors are in the car seat and vehicle owner’s manual.
Booster Seat Laws in Oklahoma
Under Oklahoma law, all children younger than 8 and older than 4 must ride in a car seat or booster seat unless they’re taller than 4′9″, in which case they can ride in the back seat with a seat belt. Additionally, you should use a booster seat until your child can fit into the seat belt in the back seat.
Here’s a video on properly securing your child in a booster seat. Remember, if the top of your child’s ears reach the top of the seat and their shoulders are above the top harness slots, they need a booster seat.
|Age||4 to 8 years old|
|Car Seat Type||Booster seat, RideSafer Travel Vest|
|Height limit||Until the child is 4’9” tall|
|Position||ALWAYS back seat.|
|Belt position||The lap belt is low, and snug across the child’s upper thighs, and the shoulder strap crosses the middle of the chest and shoulder and is off the neck.|
Don’t give in to adults’ or your child’s pressure to use a booster seat. If your child hasn’t reached their forward-facing car seat limit, it’s better not to rush into moving them to a booster seat.
They are safer in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and top tether. Move your child only after they reach the weight or height limit. Your child’s only protection in the booster seat is a lap and shoulder belt.
Also, some children can climb out of their booster seat if they are moved into it too soon and need to be more mature to understand the importance of staying safe while riding in the car. If your child does that, move them back into the forward-facing car seat.
Oklahoma Taxi Car Seat Laws
Oklahoma does not require taxis to have safety seats. Therefore, taxis, Uber, and Lyft are exempted from the car seat and child passenger restraint system requirements. The exemption also applies to school buses. Therefore, if children are riding a school bus, they do not need to use car or booster seats.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations
If you’re found to be violating Oklahoma’s car seat laws, you will be charged a fine of $50. When court charges are included, this can go as high as $200.
When Can a Child Stop Using a Booster Seat in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, all children 8 years old and older or taller than 4’9 ′′ should graduate from the booster seat to the seat belt.
Remember that some children may be older than 8 and shorter than 4′ 9″. In this case, wait until they reach the height limit. Also, some children will not fit properly in a seat belt until 12.
The Seat Belt Fit Test
Depending on your child’s height and weight, it may be uncomfortable and unsafe for them to rely only on the seat belt. To make sure your child is secure, do the 5-step booster test:
- Do their backs touch the back of the seat?
- Do their knees bend comfortably over the vehicle seat?
- Does the shoulder belt lay between their shoulder and neck?
- Does the belt lay below their hips and just above their thighs?
- Can they sit like that for the entire car ride?
If the answer is yes to all these questions, your child is ready to move beyond the booster seat. Also, ensure the seat belt lies across the middle of the chest and shoulder and is low and snug across the upper thighs, not the belly.
When Can a Child Sit in the Front Seat in Oklahoma?
While Oklahoma’s laws state that the backseat is the safest place for children regardless of age, they don’t expressly state when they can move to the front seat.
However, the national recommendation is that children under 13 be in the back seat. Here’s why:
- The back seat is always safer for anyone, regardless of their age, since most car crashes happen in the front portion of the vehicle. The back seat suffers less impact in the case of a front-end car crash.
- Front seat airbags can hurt small children because they were designed for 140-pound adults wearing seat belts. Airbags can hit children in the face, neck, head, or chest.
- Children can develop seat belt syndrome.
For older children – make sure to perform the Seat Belt Fit Test
Choosing The Right Type of Car Seat In Oklahoma
Since there are many options, searching for a car seat can be overwhelming. In addition, as new types of car seats are developed, new laws are put into place, and parents need to remain constantly informed.
Here’s an overview of the types of car seats you can find:
- Infant Car Seat: Your baby will use an infant car seat from newborn until they reach the age of 2 or the weight or height limit for the seat. Check the labels before buying because most people grow out of them before turning.
- Convertible Car Seat: Convertible car seats can be used in the rear- and forward-facing positions.
- All-in-one Car Seat: Similar to convertible car seats, the all-in-one car seat (also 3-in-1 or 4-in-one) turns into a booster seat, saving you from buying another car gear for your child.
- Booster Car Seat: When your child reaches 30 pounds, they can start riding in a booster seat.
- RideSafer Travel Vest: If you don’t own a car and commute by carpool or taxi often or travel a lot, the RideSafer travel vest is a convenient solution to keep your child safe. In Oklahoma, children older than 3 can use this vest instead of a forward-facing or booster seat. RideSafer is an FMVSS 213-certified child restraint that brings the seat belt to your child’s level. Learn more about it here.
Assistance with Free or Low-Cost Car Seats
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office created a car seat program to ensure the safety of children. You can have your car seat inspected for quality at inspection stations around the state and get assistance or advice about fitting it and securing your child.
Car seat assistance is available at the following locations:
- Oklahoma State Department of Health: 1000 NE 10th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73104
- OU Children’s Hospital: 1200 Mark R Everett Dr, Oklahoma City, OK 73104
- Central Oklahoma Healthy Start: 3017 N Martin Luther King Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73111
- Oklahoma Highway Safety Office: 3223 N Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73105
The Highway Safety Office will give a free car seat to those who can’t afford one.
That’s all there is to know about Oklahoma’s car seat laws and regulations. These laws are important because they assure the safety of your children whenever they are in a car. These laws are not mere recommendations; they must be strictly followed in order to protect your children.
Other useful resources
You can use the following resources to learn more about car seat inspections or for more help.
- Safe Kids Oklahoma Stations
- Tulsa Police Child Safety Seat Check
- Monthly and Quarterly Car Seat Safety Checks in Oklahoma
- The City of Stillwater Car Seat Inspections
- City of Owasso Car Seat Safety Checks
- Chickasaw Nation child care Car Seat Safety Program.