Navigating Oklahoma car seat laws can be confusing, especially for new parents or those new to the state. In this article, we will break down Oklahoma car seat laws and provide tips on how you can keep your little ones safe while traveling in a car.
Oklahoma’s Child Passenger Safety Law
The Injury Prevention Service recommends that parents and caregivers ensure their child’s restraint system meets the following criteria to be in compliance with Oklahoma’s child passenger safety law:
- Aged below 2: It is recommended that children aged below 2 years are securely fastened in a rear-facing car seat for maximum safety. This method of travelling is most suitable for infants and they should continue to use it until they are over 2 years old or exceed the weight and height limit of the car seat. Even with legs bent or against the back of the seat, children should avoid forward-facing.
- Aged below 4: Children aged below 4 years should be properly secured in a car seat that features an internal harness, and a 5-point harness is the most secure method of restraint for as long as the child doesn’t exceed the harness’ weight requirement.
- Aged at 8: When a child reaches the age of 8 or is more than 4’9″ tall, a seat belt is sufficient as a restraint. The safest place for children to travel is the back seat of a car. Children who are over the age of 7 or taller than 4’9” should also use a seat belt and ride in the back seat for maximum safety.
Oklahoma Rear-facing Car Seat Law
Under this law, children who are under two years old or who have not yet reached the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer must be secured in a rear-facing car seat. This law is in place to provide proper support for the child’s head, neck, and spine in the event of an accident, and reduce the risk of injury or death.
Oklahoma Forward-facing Car Seat Law
This law states that children who have outgrown their rear-facing car seat should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer. This type of car seat provides additional protection in the event of a crash, keeping the child secured and reducing the risk of injury.
Child Booster Seat Laws in Oklahoma
Children who have outgrown their forward-facing car seat must use a booster seat until they reach at least eight years old or 4 feet 9 inches in height. This law is in place to ensure that the seat belt fits properly across the child’s lap and shoulder, reducing the risk of injury in an accident.
Leaving Child in Car Law in Oklahoma
It is illegal in Oklahoma to leave a child under the age of six unattended in a vehicle for more than five minutes, or anytime the key is in the ignition. This law is in place to protect children from injury or death due to heat stroke, suffocation, or other hazards that can occur in a parked car.
Taxi Car Seat Law in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, taxi and ride-sharing services are not required to provide car seats for children under the age of eight. However, parents are encouraged to bring their own car seat or booster seat when traveling with young children in these vehicles to ensure their safety.
Places to Get Car Seat Help in Oklahoma
- Oklahoma Child Passenger Safety Resource Center: This is a state-wide program that provides information, tools, and resources to parents and caregivers to ensure proper installation and use of car seats. They offer free car seat inspections and distribution of car seats to low-income families.
- Local Police and Fire Departments: Many police and fire departments offer car seat inspections and installations. They can also provide information on child safety laws in the state.
- Hospitals and Pediatrician Offices: Some hospitals and pediatrician offices offer car seat installations and inspections. They may also have information on where to purchase and install car seats.
- National Organizations: National organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Safe Kids Worldwide offer information and resources on car seat safety and recommendations.
Understanding Penalties for Breaking Child Safety Laws in Oklahoma
- Unlawful Removal of Child from Car Seat: It is unlawful to remove a child from a car seat while the car is in motion. If caught violating this law, the penalty can include a fine of up to $50.
- Child Seatbelt Law: Oklahoma law requires that children under the age of 8 must be secured in a child restraint system appropriate for their age and weight. Violation of this law can result in a fine of up to $50.
- Booster Seat Law: Oklahoma law also requires that children between the ages of 8 and 13 must be secured in a properly fitting seat belt or a booster seat. Violators of this law can result in a fine of up to $50.
- Child Endangerment Law: If a driver is found to be driving under the influence or under the influence of drugs with a child passenger under the age of 18 in the vehicle, they may be charged with child endangerment. This can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail.
What are Oklahoma booster seat requirements?
According to Oklahoma booster seat requirements, children under four years of age, or those weighing less than 40 pounds, must be secured in a child passenger restraint system, such as a child safety seat. Children aged four to eight must continue to use the car seat until they reach the height of four feet nine inches, or until they are eight years of age. It is recommended that children under the age of eight ride in a booster seat until they reach the safety guidelines mentioned above.
Is it Illegal to Smoke in a Car with a Child in Oklahoma?
Yes, it is illegal to smoke in a car with a child under the age of 18 present in Oklahoma. The law, which came into effect in November 2015, makes it illegal for drivers to smoke a cigarette, cigar, or tobacco pipe while a child is present in the vehicle. The violation carries fines and court costs of up to $100.
When Can My Child Sit in the Front Seat in Oklahoma?
According to Oklahoma law, children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat of the vehicle unless there is no back seat or no appropriate restraint system. Children under two years of age must ride in a rear-facing car seat, and it is recommended that children continue to use a rear-facing car seat as long as possible as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Do I Need To Replace My Car Seats After An Accident In Oklahoma?
After an accident, it is recommended to replace car seats if they were involved in a moderate to severe collision. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains that car seats should be replaced when involved in a collision that caused airbags to deploy, caused the vehicle to be towed away, or caused significant damage to the vehicle’s passenger compartment. It is important to check with your car seat manufacturer for guidance on when to replace your child’s car seat.
Does Insurance Cover Car Seat Replacements After Accidents?
Most insurance policies cover the replacement of car seats after accidents. However, it is essential to verify your policy’s coverage with your insurance provider. Some insurance companies have specific limits on the amount of reimbursement for car seats, so it is important to check with them about their policy and procedures.
In some cases, the cost of a replacement car seat may exceed the amount covered by insurance, which is why it is recommended to keep your receipts to help ensure reimbursement.
In conclusion, Oklahoma’s car seat laws aim to protect children in the event of a car accident. Remember, car seats and booster seats play a crucial role in keeping your child safe while on the road, and it is imperative to ensure you are following the state’s laws. As the guidelines vary based on age, height, and weight, it is vital to keep an eye on your child’s growth and development and adjust their car seat as necessary. Always prioritize your child’s safety and keep them protected on every car journey.