A Summary of Child Car Seat Laws in Oklahoma
- Oklahoma law requires all children less than 2 years old to ride on rear-facing seats.
- The law allows children 2 years or older to ride on forward-facing seats.
- The law requires all children at least 4 years to ride on booster seats until they are 8 years old or 4’9’’ tall.
- Children should remain in the back seat until age 13.
Rear-facing Car Seat Laws in Oklahoma
Oklahoma law requires all children less than 2 years old to ride on rear-facing seats. The rear-facing position is considered the safest for infants, and parents are encouraged to keep their children in this position until the seat’s weight and height limits have been exceeded. Rear-facing seats hold the child in place during a crash and distribute the crash forces across the stronger parts of the body, often protecting the spine, head, and neck from injury. Typically, babies usually start with infant-only seats which are designed for newborns. These seats are rear-facing only, and children usually outgrow them within a short amount of time and then switch to convertible seats. Convertibles have higher weight limits (up to 40 pounds) and allow you to keep your baby rear-facing until he or she is 3-4 years old. Rear-facing seats should be installed in the back seat and away from an active airbag.
Forward-Facing Car Seat Laws in Oklahoma
The law allows children 2 years or older to ride on forward-facing seats. However, they are required to remain forward-facing until they are at least 4 years old. The seat should be equipped with an internal harness and be federally approved. Parents can buy a forward-facing only seat or flip their convertible seat to face the front of the car. A seat of this type can be used together with lap-only belts or lap-shoulder belts. The harness straps should be snug above the child’s shoulders to maximize protection. Most seats can support children of up to 65 pounds, so some children can safely ride forward-facing until age 7. The seat should be installed in the back seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Booster Seat Regulations in Oklahoma
The law requires all children of at least 4 years to ride on booster seats until they are 8 years old or 4’9” tall, whichever comes first. A booster seat allows children to use a regular seat belt by lifting them so that the straps can be properly positioned over the body. A safe and comfortable fit means the lap portion lies snug across the upper thighs and the shoulder portion lies flat across the middle of the chest. The belt straps should never be over the neck, stomach, or under an arm. There are two main types of booster seats – high-back and backless. High-back booster seats are designed to support the child’s head and neck when a headrest is not available, while backless seats are normally used by those with headrests in their back seats. Booster seats should be used until children are big enough for seat belts. This typically happens at a height of 4’9”. Also, your child is ready for safety belts if he or she can sit all the way back against the seat without slouching and with knees bent at the edge of the seat.
Requirements for children to use the front seat in Oklahoma
There is no official law regarding the requirements needed to sit in the front seat. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the airbags in the front seat can hurt children, so the back seat is the safest, and children should remain in the back seat until age 13.
Law on Lap belt use in Oklahoma
If all lap-shoulder belts are in use by children who weigh 40 pounds or more or if the car is not equipped with lap-shoulder belts, a child who weighs 40 pounds or more can be transported in the back seat with only a lap belt.
Law on leaving a child in a car in Oklahoma
It is illegal to leave a child unattended inside a car in Oklahoma.
Smoking in a car with a child in Oklahoma
No law covers smoking in a car with child passengers, although it is not recommended.
Car Seat Law Exemptions in Oklahoma
Commercial vehicles such as school buses and taxis are not required to comply with the car seat laws. Emergency vehicles and motorcycles are also exempted. When all seat belts are in use, you are not required to comply with the state’s car seat laws. Also, children who cannot ride on child restraint devices due to medical reasons need to have a written document from a physician that states reasons why the child cannot use a safety seat.
Law on Car Seat Replacement in Oklahoma
There is no law regarding the replacement of car seats. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says car seats should be replaced after a severe or moderate accident. Remember to check for your seat’s expiry date and replace it if it has expired.
More Oklahoma Laws