New Car Seat Law in Ohio
Ohio’s child passenger safety law has changed. It has to do with booster seats, and I’m finding most parents haven’t heard about this yet. Starting in October, children must be in a booster seat (or a combination seat) until they are eight years old or 4’9’‘ or taller. That’s a big change. I spoke with Judy Hirschfeld, a passenger safety program specialist through Nationwide Children’s Hospital and she says, “Before this law, here in Ohio, we were required to have a child in a car seat until she was four years of age or 40 pounds. Now all those kids beyond four years of age have to be in a booster until they are eight unless they are 4’9” tall.“
The reason is simple. Children under the age of eight generally don’t fit well in a seat belt made for an adult. A booster seat gives them the “boost” they need to protect them in a crash. Hirschfeld says, “There is an inclination for the child to put the shoulder belt under her arm or behind her back and then in a crash her body lunges forward and there’s a lot of serious injury.“ So, here’s what you need to know. Once your child outgrows the safety seat they are using as a toddler, they should move to a booster seat. It can either be high back or low back, and they are easy to install since they only require a seat belt. (No tether to mess with!) Also, the booster seat can be loose, unlike an infant or convertible safety seat. There’s no need to stick your knee in the seat and pull as hard as you can. As a mom who has done that many times, I was happy to hear that! :)
This change in the law begins in October, and citations will be given starting in April of 2010. I’m adding a link to the AAP car seat guide, which I think is so helpful in picking out safety seats.
Also, here are additional details on Oho’s child passenger safety law.
*Infants should ride rear-facing in an infant-only or convertible seat until they are at least one year old and at least 20 pounds. Although, it is highly recommended that all children stay rear-facing to the upper weight limit of the seat.
*Ohio’s law requires children less than four years old and/or less than 40 pounds to be restrained in a safety seat (citations will be given to parents as a second offense). Children over 20 pounds and at least one year of age may ride forward-facing in a convertible or forward-facing only seat until they are at least four years old and 40 pounds.
*When children have outgrown a safety seat with an internal harness, they must be placed in a belt positioning booster seat, preferably high-back, to meet Ohio’s child passenger safety law.