Oregon’s car seat laws recently went through a few changes. But the legislation’s primary purpose of protecting children during car rides remains intact. For instance, any child under sixteen must be adequately secured in a child safety seat, safety belt, or child safety harness.
Research shows that using a car seat to restrain your child reduces the risk of injury in crashes by 71–82% for children, compared with seat belt use alone. Therefore, you must use car seats for your children according to the recommended guidelines.
Understanding these car seat laws can be tricky. There are differences from state to state, and car seat laws occasionally change. Knowing what car seat laws apply in a specific area and what changes have recently occurred in their statutes can be quite a hassle if you’re someone like me who travels with children a lot. I have researched and summarized the car seat laws in Oregon. I’ll also be answering some FAQs at the end.
Weight And Height Limitations According To The Law
Oregon’s Car Seat Laws clearly state, “All children must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system while riding in a motor vehicle until the adult seat belt fits them correctly.” If a child is eight years old or younger and is under 4’9″ tall, Oregon law requires you to continue using a child restraint system. For simplicity, let’s divide the weight and height recommendations into four categories:
1. Rear-Facing Car Seat
The rear-facing car seat is for all children from birth up to the age of two years. The child must ride rear-facing in the back seat and not the front seat during this period. Transitioning to a forward-facing car seat can occur sooner if they reach that seat’s upper weight or height limit.
Rear-Facing Harness Position
- Harness straps should be at or below the shoulders.
- The harness clip position should be on the chest between the armpits
2. Forward-Facing Car Seat
You must use the forward-facing car seat after two years up to at least 40 lb weight. Here the child can ride forward-facing but must still be in the back seat until they weigh at least 40 pounds or reach the upper height or weight limit of their forward-facing harnessed car seat.
Forward-Facing Harness Position
- The harness strap should be at or above the shoulders
- The harness clip position should be on the chest between the armpits.
3. Booster Seat
You can use the booster seat once your child reaches 4. You must use it for up to 8 years of age. Here the child should once again ride in the backseat using a car seat with a harness until they reach the top weight or height limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. When the child outgrows their forward-facing car seat with a harness, moving them to a booster seat while still riding in the vehicle’s back seat is time.
Booster Seat Belt Position
- The position of the shoulder belt should be across the shoulder and chest rather than the neck or the face
- The lower lap belt should not be positioned at the stomach; rather, it should lie across the upper thighs
4. Seat Belt
Your child should be at least eight years old before sitting in a car without a car seat. However, since the growth of every child can vary, the time of transitioning to a car seat also varies. So how would you decide whether your child is ready to sit in a car without a car seat? Put your child in your vehicle without a car seat and ask yourself the following questions to simplify things.
If the answer to ALL these questions is yes, only then can your child ride without a booster seat:
- Does my child sit back comfortably against the vehicle seat with their knees over the edge?
- Is my child able to rest their feet flat on the floor?
- Is the shoulder belt positioned across the collarbone and the neck? Remember, the position of the shoulder belt should never be across the neck.
- Is the lap belt at the level of my child’s thighs? Bear in mind that the position of the lower belt should not be across the stomach.
- Is my child able to ride comfortably seated this way throughout the trip?
It is, however, highly recommended that all children under age 13 ride adequately restrained in the back seat.
Booster Seat Laws Oregon – Other Additions
Oregon’s new car seat law requires that children, regardless of age or height, ride as a passenger in a rear-facing, DOT-approved car seat if they are under 20 pounds. So, if your baby is over two years old but under 20 pounds, they must ride in a rear-facing car seat.
Furthermore, if your baby is under 20 pounds but over the age of two, they must ride in a rear-facing car seat. Only children two years and over the weight of 20 pounds can ride as passengers in a front-facing car seat.
Specific car seats are designed to be rear-facing, while others can adjust and comply with state regulations for both forward and rear-facing positions. As long as you have your adjustable car seat facing toward the back of the car, you will meet the legal requirement. To fulfill this obligation, you could also use a car seat made explicitly for rear-facing positions.
Why Should You Follow The Law?
Following the law should never be done to avoid fines; there are several other benefits of using car seats to restrain your children. For instance, car seats increase the safety of your children and, in case of any accidents, significantly reduce the risk of injuries. In addition, there is less disturbance in your car because your child isn’t moving around. This also reduces the risk of accidents while driving since your children divert your attention from the road.
If you’re a parent of a young child, following the law would ensure your child’s safety while traveling. If you’re a taxi driver, you should know these laws to avoid fines.
If parents are traveling in your car with their child, you can guide them so that they can choose the appropriate car seat and adequately position their child in the car seat.
If you’re like me with multiple children, you might get worried about how each child should be appropriately restrained to ensure their safety. That’s where these laws come in handy. Simply following the guidelines ensures the safety of every child.
Follow The Manufacturer’s Instructions
Most car seats come with manufacturer instructions. These include the age, weight, and height limits the car seat manufacturer recommends. These instructions are specifically made so that your child is safe. The instructions are based on the law.
So, you must make sure that you follow the directions provided by the manufacturer and correctly install the car seat into the vehicle. You must also correctly use the car seat straps. If you’re worried or unsure about those directions, seek help at your local police station or fire department.
Fine For Violating The Law
The driver is responsible for the safety of the passengers. If the driver or the children below 16 aren’t appropriately restrained, the driver can be fined $115 in Oregon. The driver and front seat passengers aged 16 or older can be fined up to $115 each for failure to wear a seat belt.
If your child is younger than eight years and less than 4’9″ tall, they must go in a car seat/booster seat. From birth to age 2, your child should be in a rear-facing car seat in the backseat. This allows your child to safely rest in the car seat without getting affected by the surroundings and crying.
From the age of two till your child attains a weight of 40 lb, they should be in a forward-facing car seat, again on the back seat. This ensures that when your child is curious about the world, they can look around while still being safely harnessed.
From age four to at least eight, your child should be in the booster seat but again in the back seat only. A booster seat allows your child to sit and gaze at the world around them rather than lie down.
Once your child is over eight and can use the seatbelt safely, you can seat them without a car seat. The Oregon Car Seat Laws recommend that all children under age 13 should ride properly restrained in the back seat. You must follow the manufacturer’s guidelines since they are explicitly made for that car seat, following the car seat laws.
1. What are the current car seat laws in Kentucky?
According to Kentucky Car Seat Laws, if a child is under eight and is between 40 and 57 inches in height must be restrained in a car seat. The car seat requirements in Kentucky vary depending on the child’s age, weight, and height.
2. At what age and weight can a child transition from a car seat to a booster seat in Kentucky?
The KY booster seat law states that if your child is less than eight years of age and has a height of between 40 and 57 inches, they can transition to a booster seat. The law does not mention the weight requirements. However, according to my experience, your child usually weighs roughly 60-70 lbs when they can transition to a booster seat.
3. What are the specific requirements for booster seats in Kentucky?
The booster seat requirements KY include:
- Your child has outgrown the rear-facing/forward-facing car seat
- Your child is less than eight years old
- Your child has a height of between 40 and 57 inches
4. Are there any exceptions or exceptional circumstances to the car seat laws in Kentucky?
Few vehicles are exempt from these car seat laws, such as taxis, some used in farms, and postal vehicles. However, we do not recommend traveling in these without using a car or booster seat since it may compromise your child’s safety.
There is no mention of the age at which your child can ride in the front seat. However, the Kentucky Department of Transportation recommends keeping your child in the back seat up to 12.