Data show that car accidents are the leading cause of death in children. In these cases, about 35% of the children were not properly restrained or buckled up.
This means that the deaths can be avoided if children use car seats and seat belts.
The use of car seats is an incredibly essential feature to ensure your child's safety during travels, so you need to make sure you are using the correct one.
Sadly, several people are still unsure of what to use and how long to use the car seat.
Moreover, they are not aware of the car seat laws around the state of Oklahoma.
Read on as we give you a simple guide on what you need to know about Oklahoma car seat laws.
Oklahoma Car Seat Law
Under the Oklahoma Law, every child under eight years of age should be properly and correctly secured using a child restraint system when transported in a motor vehicle.
The specific guidelines on the use of child restraints and seat belts are listed below to ensure the children's safety. These rules vary depending on the age and height of the child.
1). 0 - 2 years:
Children below two years old must be secured properly in a rear-facing car seat.
This type of seat helps provide ample protection for infants and toddlers, thus securing the necks from injury.
2). 2 - 4 years:
When children outgrow the rear-facing car seat, it's time to restrain them in a forward-facing car seat.
This type of restraint system usually occurs when children are over two years old until the age of four.
3). 4 - 8 years:
The assumption that children more than four years old should no longer use a car seat is false and definitely a dangerous option.
It should be noted that children between the age of four and eight must be secured in a restraint system such as a car or booster seat provided the child is higher than 4'9".
4). 8 years and above:
Children who are eight years old or higher than 4'9" will no longer need a car seat.
However, they must still wear a seat belt when riding or traveling in a vehicle.
No matter what is your child's age, it is best to keep them sitting in the car's back seat. The back seat is proven to be the safest place for children while riding in a vehicle.
Exemptions to the Law
The Oklahoma Car Seat Law does not apply to the following:
- If a non-resident driver is transporting a child in the state.
- If the child is transported in a taxi, school bus, motorcycle, and other motor vehicles that are not required to have and be equipped with safety restraints based on federal laws.
- If the child is transported in an ambulance or emergency vehicle.
- If the child is transported in a motor vehicle where all the seat belts are taken or used.
- If the child is wearing only the lap seat belt, given that the motor vehicle is not equipped with a combination of the lap and shoulder safety belts or that the combination is being used by other children who are weighing more than forty pounds.
- If the child has a medical condition reflected in written documentation coming from a physician that states the condition that does not allow placing or using a child restraint system.
Penalties for Violations
To prevent ignoring the law, Oklahoma's state put in place tough fines and penalties intended to ensure that all parents and drivers follow the rules.
Breaking the Oklahoma Car Seat Law will incur penalties as outlined by the state.
Failure to provide the child's right seat has a maximum penalty of $50 for the first offense.
However, the total amount can reach up to $207.90 when the court costs are added.
In case a second offense of the same law occurs, the fines can increase significantly depending on the judge and police officer involved in the court case.
Car Seat Expiration
Car seats come with an expiry date. It is vital to give extra attention to the details.
Through the years, the car seat's materials tend to degrade while its plastic shell may become brittle.
These conditions make it not sufficient enough to offer the protection needed by the child in case of a crash.
Also, the car seat technology changes a lot, with all the upgrades that occur regularly, to ensure the users' safety.
Thus, replace the car seat when necessary.
In case of a crash, replace the seat even if there is no visible damage on its surface.
Unattended Children in Motor Vehicle Safety Act
This Safety Act states that children six years old or younger should not be left unattended in a motor vehicle if:
1. The conditions present a risk to the safety and health of the unattended child.
2. The motor vehicle's engine is running, and the keys are located anywhere in the passenger's compartment.
Any violation under this provision shall be punished with a fine of not less than $200. A second and subsequent violation is punishable by a penalty of not less than $500.
OHSO Scholarship Information
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office grants funded scholarships which cover the fees for the Child Passenger Safety:
- Instructor Candidacy
- Technician Proxy
Oklahoma Car Seat Programs
To help choose the best car seats to correctly fit their children, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office created a car seat program.
This program aims to secure children, thus coming up with inspection stations around the state for quality checking, fitting assistance, and advice.
Find help and assistance with your car seats here:
1. Oklahoma State Department of Health
2. Oklahoma Highway Safety Office
Oklahoma Car Seat Assistance
If there are difficulties in affording a car seat, the Highway Safety Office in Oklahoma may provide assistance.
They are more than willing to provide free car seats, especially those who can't afford a unit.
Moreover, the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program and SoonerCare ensure that car seats are available to the parents with limited means.
They grant free car seats, booster seats, and even installation assistance for the eligible members.
OCCHD Car Seat Safety Videos
The Oklahoma City-County Health Department is committed to providing timely and accurate information to the residents of Oklahoma.
With the help of the following videos, parents will have a more in-depth view of what their children truly need when traveling.
Specific rules govern the proper use of car seats in the state of Oklahoma, be it according to the child's age or weight.
It is essential to know and follow the Oklahoma car seat laws to ensure the safety and protection of your children.
Remember that choosing the right seat is vital not only for safety purposes but also for preventing any form of penalties for violating the law.
Car seats should promote safety; thus, it is essential to do your research and consider other factors such as the expiry date.
As always, buckle your children up, every trip, and every time!