The 2021 Ohio Car Seat Laws What You Need to Know

How well aware are you that car crashes are the number one cause of death in the United States? Do you find the information shocking? Sadly, the situation keeps getting worse each year, with many reckless drivers taking the wheel drunk or inexperienced.

The state of Ohio has its set of laws that require all children to be safely secured in a proper restraint system. Following the law brings us a step closer to returning home safely to our loved ones.

So, parents listen up!

In today's article, we discuss how you can protect your young ones during the ride. The set of laws we cover refers only to Ohio car seat laws. If you are interested in car seat laws in other states, you can check our other articles.

What is Ohio Car Seat Law All About?

ohio car seat laws 2020

The Ohio car seat law is pretty clear at this point. The state requires all children in the vehicle to be properly secured in a child restraint system. You would need to supply one if you didn't know by now because the fine for this law violation is $25.

A proper restraint system means that it is adequate for a child's age, weight, and height. Now only do you have to follow the law requirements, but it is necessary to check the car seat manufacturers' recommendations.

Sometimes you would think that a child is ready for a booster, but as it turns out, he/she is just a few inches shorter and does not fit well in it. Even if the law states that children have to reach specific seat criteria, always check the instructions on the seat first.

Surprise, surprise, but not all of them are the same.

Some requirements that parents and guardians have to follow are:
Infants and younger children younger than four years old and weighing under 40 pounds must ride in a child safety seat.

Older children (ages 4-8) are no longer obligated to ride in a child restraint seat. Instead, the appropriate safety seat for them is a booster until they reach 4'9" of height.

Children ages 8-15, must be secured via seat belt.

Rear-Facing Car Seat

Ohio law declares that children should be secured in rear-faced seats until they turn two years old. But, how many times did you purchase baby clothes meant for a two-year-old, but it turns out to be too small.

The same goes for car seats. If the child outgrows the rear-faced seat before they turn two, you can secure them in a forward-faced seat. 

Of course, please pay attention that their weight and height meets all the standards as declared by the car seat manufacturer.

What About Forward-Faced Seats?

ohio car seat laws 2020 rear-facing

The right time for a forward-facing seat is after the child turns two years old, or if he/she reaches the necessary criteria for the seat.

We support the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations as well here. They advise the right time for a forward seat is when a child outgrows a rear-facing one.

Toddler will use a forward seat with the necessary harness and remain in them until they are ready for a booster seat.

Budget Tip

We all know how expenses pile up when you have a baby. There are convertible seats that change from a rear-faced to a forward seat in seconds if you didn't know. 

In this way, you save some money on the side for your next investment while keeping the baby safe in transportation.

Booster Seats 

As with other types of seats, the right time to use a booster is when your child outgrows a forward seat. But, officially, according to the Ohio law, a child should use a booster between the ages of four and seven years old. Until they reach the height of 4'10", they need to be secured in a booster until they are ready for a seat belt.

If a booster is an entirely new type of restraint system for you, let me tell you there are two options available. You can either choose from a backless booster or the one with the back protection included. You will choose between these two based on whether your car has a headrest or not.

Remember that a child's head, spine, and shoulders need to be protected if a car crash occurs, so choose wisely between the two models.

Front Seat Rides in Ohio

ohio car seat and booster laws

It is recommended that children over thirteen years old ride in the front seat with their seat belts on in Ohio.

Again, we are following the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, stating that adolescents can ride in the front seat when they surpass 13

There are exceptions to this law, that require children to be secured in the back seat until they reach the criteria for front seat rides.

If they are on the smaller side and cannot be adequately secured by a seat belt, it's better to wait for a while.

Can You Leave Children Unattended in Vehicle?

There is no law saying that it is illegal to leave children unattended in the Ohio vehicle.

What About Smoking in the Vehicle With Children Present?

At the moment, it's not illegal to smoke in the vehicle with children present. However, the situation can soon take a turn.

An Ohio lawmaker works hard at making it illegal to smoke in cars with under six-year-olds present. The violation of this law results in a $500 fine. If the person responsible continues breaking the following law, he/she would have to pay an additional $500 fine plus a $250 for the next violation.

The proposal for this law update will cover any cigarette, pipe, or any other smoking device containing tobacco.

If you are not aware of the danger you are exposing your child each time you light a cigarette, know that several illnesses are linked to secondhand smoke exposure. Please, do not take it for granted. Ensure your baby is not exposed to toxic chemicals before it's too late.

Where Can You Get Car Seat Help in Ohio?

state of ohio baby car seat laws

Here is a helpful list of a few resources to get car seat inspection or any other related issue.

Facing The Consequences

The fine for violating the law regarding child restrainment equals out between $25 and $75. Further violation of the same law, charges the reckless driver with a $250 fine and a fourth-degree misdemeanor. Not only will you face the finance charge, but thirty days in jail as well.

There is a $500 fine with 60 days in a jail sentence for the third offense of not restraining children in transportation.

We strongly advise you to follow the Ohio car seat laws. Not because you will financially face the consequence, but because you will save numerous precious lives by setting an example in traffic obedience.

Kathy Warner

Kathy is a busy mother of two and a CPS technician for more than eight years. Her mission is to awaken parents to the importance of child passenger safety and show them the right practice. You can read more about her here

3 thoughts on “The 2021 Ohio Car Seat Laws What You Need to Know”

  1. Children are not the only ones with a laundry list of dogs and don’ts. What about adults who use their seatbelt across the lap but not the shoulder? Law or personal choice?

    Reply

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