Ohio Car Seat Laws

Beginner Info, Car Seat

ohio car seat laws
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Well, in this post, I will be walking you through the nuts & bolts of Ohio Car Seat Laws in the best possible manner that I could.

Moreover, I will also be throwing light on various aspects of the Ohio Car Seat Laws in order to help you clear your doubts.

So, without any further ado, let’s begin…

The Ohio Car Seat Laws comprise forward-facing, rear-facing, booster set, and seat belt laws.

Many of our readers wouldn’t be aware of the fact that the last time Ohio car seat laws were updated was on October 7, 2009.

Frankly speaking, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned professional, this detailed guide comprises almost all the essential ingredients that you might be looking for including changes made in the laws as well as penalties for violating them.

Ohio car seat laws comprise the guidelines that dictate your children when to ride rear-facing and when they can switch to forward-facing car seats, booster seats, or even don’t have to use a seat at all.

Ohio Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

As per the Ohio car seat laws, your children should ride rear-facing as long as possible.

I’m assuming most of you would be aware of the fact that the rear-facing position is safer than the forward-facing.

Most importantly, your kid MUST ride rear-facing for at least the first year and can stay rear-facing up to 4 years of age.

In fact, your children should stay rear-facing till the time they reach the highest height and weight for the seat set by the manufacturer.

Ohio’s Forward-Facing Car Seat Laws

Ohio’s Forward-Facing Car Seat Laws say that your children should be moved from a rear-facing car seat to a forward-facing car seat once they have surpassed the height & weight limit of the rear-facing car seat.

Moreover, your kid can stay in the forward-facing car seat till the time S/he has reached 4 years of age or weighs 40 pounds.

Booster Seat Laws

As per the booster seat laws, your children need to ride in a booster seat if they fall in the age group of 4-8 years and under 4 feet 9 inches in height.

Penalties for Violating Ohio Car Seat Laws

  • The penalty for your first offense falls in the range of $25 & $75
  • Well, the problem arises when you commit subsequent offenses and the penalty for such misdemeanor includes but is not limited to 1 year of jail time, fines up to $1000, plus court costs
  • The exact amount of the fine and duration of jail time is decided by the judges

Taxi / Uber

As per Uber, the child who needs a car seat needs to be secured in one.

In fact, parents like you and me can bring their own seats if they choose to.

Moreover, in some cities, Uber provides forward-facing cars in some cities.

The below-mentioned requirements need to be met by your children.

  • Your kid must be at least 12 months old
  • S/he should weigh at least 22 pounds
  • And, in terms of height, S/he should measure at least 31 inches

In case, you’re interested in using these services, then you must choose the “car seat” option after you choose the UberX vehicle type.

For your information, an additional $10 is added to the price for these trips.

As per my knowledge and experience, this service is only available in New York City as of now.

Rental Cars

Well, if you need to rent a car on a vacation, a few rental car companies offer car seats for their vehicles.


Hertz offers a few different car seat options depending on your child’s needs.

  • A child is provided with a rear-facing infant car seat if S/he weighs up to 20 pounds
  • Hertz provides a forward-facing car seat for children weighing 20 to 40 pounds and NOT more than 40 inches in height
  • Booster seats are provided for children weighing 40 to 80 pounds or those who don’t fit in an adult safety belt correctly

However, the employees of Hertz will not install a car seat for your children rather they will provide instructions on how to do it.

In case, your child damages the car seat S/he will be charged a replacement fee so make sure S/he handles it properly.

Furthermore, if you’re a AAA member, you can rent a car seat through Hertz for free.


Well, Avis is yet another brand that offers car seats for their rental vehicles.

Avis offers rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster seats for your children.

In order to make the installation of the car seats quick, easy, and less time-consuming, Avis uses the LATCH system in all their car seats.


Enterprise also rents car seats.

However, for the details, you’ll have to contact the local branch.

Ohio Car Seat Laws Changes

As per the Ohio Car Seat Laws, a safety seat is a must for all children who are less than 4 years old and weigh less than 40 pounds.

The safety seat must meet the federal motor safety standards without fail.

On the other hand, a booster seat is a must for all the kids who haven’t reached the 8-year mark and don’t fit in a seat belt in spite of outgrowing safety seat weight and height limits.

Such kids must be in a booster seat till the time S/he crosses the 4 feet 9 inches mark.

Either a safety belt or a child safety seat is a MUST for children falling in the age group of 8 to 15 years.

What Should I Do If I Can’t Afford A Car Seat In Ohio?

Frankly speaking, we’ve had clients in the past who weren’t in a position to afford a car seat in Ohio.

So, if you’re also in such a position then stay with us as I would be highlighting the ways that will help you to deal with such scenarios effectively.

To be honest,  Ohio Buckles Buckeyes is the name of the game.

 In fact, Ohio Buckles Buckeyes is the program that provides both child safety seats as well as booster seats to parents who belong to low-income groups in Ohio.

The main motive of this program is to ensure that every family has child safety seats irrespective of whether they can afford them or NOT.

Not only that but, but they also have Occupant Protection Regional Coordinators (OPRCs) who provide the following services to the different sites:

  • They are responsible for providing technical assistance to local sites in their regions
  • Not only do they provide training and education but also help in carrying out the programs
  • Also, helps in coordinating and evaluating programs so that the end-users can reap maximum benefits from these programs
  • Moreover, the coordinators ensure that the local sites comply with their program requirements
  • It also helps in coordinating check-up events and establishing fitting station sites in the local communities
  • Most importantly, a certification course of 32 hours is run for technicians. The course is quite important as it prepares skilled technicians for all the communities for check-up events, fitting stations, and Ohio Buckles Buckeyes sites

And, the best part is, that the program also educates parents on child passenger safety.


Well, for applying for the Ohio Buckles Buckeyes program, you need to fulfill certain requirements that we’re gonna discuss in a while.

In order to avail of this program, your family’s income must fall within the guidelines for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.

Furthermore, parents need to attend a class provided by local CPS staff in which they are taught the ways to use car seats for their children as well as the ways to install them.

Well, if you’re interested in availing of the benefits of this program and want more information then call 800-755-GROW.

Children with Special Needs – Ohio Car Seat Laws

In case, your child has special needs than in that case, Easter Seals of Northern Ohio has a program with the name KARS that helps kids who can’t ride in a conventional car seat either because of their size or injuries, or disabilities.

For the below-mentioned conditions, they provide car seats.

  • A child who wants to avail of the benefits of this program must weigh at least 3 pounds
  • S/he must wear a leg or a full-body cast
  • Their head or trunk requires more support
  • Since they are highly active so for them staying in a regular car seat might be a BIG NO

The technicians of this program provide the following services:


As per your child’s requirements including size and age, a technician will talk to you about the types of car seats and how much they cost as well as different vendors that sell them.

Loan Program

In fact, they lend a small number of car seats to children who weigh as little as 3 to as much as 108 pounds for completely FREE for a time duration of up to six months.

Education Programs

These technicians teach parents groups and health professionals how to put children in vehicles whether they have regular or special needs car seats or restraints.

If you live in Northern Ohio and want to find out more about this program, you can contact them at 1-888-710-3020. 


As promised to my readers, I would be responding to the queries related to Ohio Car Seat Laws in order to help our readers in the best possible that I could.

How long does my child have to ride rear-facing?

Unfortunately, Ohio has no specific law about how long your child should stay rear-facing.

In fact, you need to check the weight and height limits set by the car manufacturer.

Your child can stay in a rear-facing car seat till the time S/he is within the weight and height limits set by the car manufacturer.

Why aren’t seat belts enough?

Frankly speaking, automakers design seat belts keeping adults in mind.

As a result, children are at risk of serious injuries during a car crash or any other unprecedented event.

So, it’s advisable to opt for a booster car seat if your kid has crossed the weight and height limit of a forward-facing car seat set up by the manufacturer.

Please have a quick look at the benefits provided by a booster car seat:

  • By allowing the shoulder belt to lay over the strongest parts of your kid’s body, the booster seat enhances safety in a true sense
  • Moreover, a booster car seat allows the lap belt to lay across the child’s upper hips and thighs instead of their abdomen
  • In fact, without a booster seat, your kid is at risk as the belt could be on the abdomen, causing hip, abdomen, or spinal cord injuries during a car crash

According to the NHTSA, over half of the children killed during car accidents would have been alive today if child seat belt use was approximately 100 percent.

Many of you wouldn’t be aware of the fact that simply using a booster car seat with a seat belt instead of just a seat belt cuts the risk of injury by 59 percent, interesting, isn’t it?

We at izzysmarthomeguide.com recommend parents use a booster car seat in case their children have outgrown a car seat but are still under the height and weight limits for adult seat belts.

Why was the Ohio car seat law passed?

Unfortunately, the contribution of Ohio’s parents towards using safety car seats or booster car seats is among the lowest in the country which is definitely a point of concern.

In fact, only 18 percent of Ohio’s parents use safe car seats for their children.

  • Traffic accidents are among the main reasons for children deaths in the age group of 4 to 7 years in Ohio
  • If data has to be believed then between the years 1999 and 2006, at least 34 children in Ohio died in motor vehicle crashes

After the passing of the Ohio car seat laws, parents will have to provide safe car seats to their kids else will have to pay a penalty for violating the rule.

In layman’s terms, the new law will encourage more parents to buckle their kids in car seats, and as a result, the risk of child fatalities due to car accidents will be reduced tangibly.

What can I do if I can’t afford a safety seat for my child?

As discussed earlier, if you’re on a shoestring budget and can’t afford a safety seat for your child, the best thing that you can do is to check if you qualify for the Ohio Buckles Buckeyes program.

Already, we’ve discussed the important points related to this program including how to avail of its benefits.

How old does the child have to be to ride in the front seat?

Well, for your child to ride in the front seat he or she must attain the age of 13.

But, at the same time, any child in the age range of 13 to 16 years must wear a seat belt irrespective of the fact that whether they are sitting in the front or the back seat.

Moreover, even if your kid is above 16 years he must wear a seat belt if he is sitting in the car’s front seat.

We at izzysmarthomeguide.com recommends our clients buckle their seat belt even in the back seat as it provides more safety.

When can I move my child to a booster seat in Ohio?

A very common question asked by our clients is When can I move my child to a booster seat in Ohio, If you’re also inquisitive to know the exact answer then please stay with us.

Frankly speaking, any child can be moved to a booster seat once S/he has bypassed the height and weight limits set by the manufacturer for the front-facing car seat.

If you’re shifting your child to the booster seat then you need to ensure that the seat belt fits properly.

At what age can the child ride without the booster seat in Ohio?

As a general rule, parents should follow the below-mentioned guidelines.

  • Any child can ride without a booster seat only if he or she is tall enough to sit against the back of the seat and most importantly, is able to bend his or her knees at the edge of it without hunching over
  • The shoulder belt must line up with your kid’s shoulder and chest
  • The lap belt should be low and tight on the upper part of the thighs instead of the stomach
  • Most importantly, your kid should be comfortable in the position for the entire trip

What about when my child is on a school bus?

According to the Ohio Revised Code, any vehicle including a school bus whose gross weight is equal to or greater than 10,000 is not required to have a safety belt or even a child restraint.

On the other hand, the law emphasizes that the daycare centers, as well as nursery schools that have their own vehicles, must have child restraints in place and they must meet federal motor vehicle safety standards.

Should I take any special precautions if my child has special needs?

Of course, you need to take special precautions if your child has special needs.

Below-mentioned points will definitely help you with the required piece of information.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a group of problems that affects a child’s ability to maintain both good posture and balance.

Though the symptoms vary from one person to another still you can find some common characteristics of Cerebral palsy mentioned below.

  • Variations in muscle tone
  • Stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes
  • Stiff muscles with normal reflexes
  • No muscle coordination
  • Tremors or involuntary movements
  • Difficulty walking

Children with this problem are safe in the rear-facing seat because during a crash it spreads the force from it over the back of the car seat as well as the child’s back.

As a result, the risk of spinal cord injuries is reduced drastically.

Children with Down’s Syndrome

Children with Down’s Syndrome have a full or partial extra copy of the 21st chromosome. 

As a result, the muscle tone or even joints of children suffering from Down’s syndrome isn’t up to the mark.

On top of it, you can also find the first and second vertebrae moving in some children suffering from this disease.

Children who have low muscle tone can benefit from using a rear-facing car seat.

Furthermore, there are some other considerations to look at with children with Down’s Syndrome.

  • Some children with Down Syndrome need heart surgery. If your child has Down Syndrome and had heart surgery, and you’re concerned about car seat straps placing too much pressure on their chest, look for a different car seat
  • If your child slumps, add crotch rolls to prevent it
  • If they need more support on the side, consider adding foam rolls. You can also add soft padding on either side of the head. However,  don’t add padding behind or under the child in the seat
  • If your child has a tracheotomy, don’t use car seats that have a tray or shield

Children with a Spica Cast

Some children may need a special cast called a spica cast if they have certain conditions:

  • Developmental dysplasia of the hip 
  • Unstable hips from cerebral palsy
  • A traumatic injury that caused a femur fracture

It may cover both legs or part of one leg. The surgeon may tell you the width, and how much it will bend at the knee. Children in spica casts usually fit in regular car seats. If your child doesn’t fit in a regular car seat with their spica cast, consider purchasing a convertible seat that has lower sides or a wider front.

Children With Autism, ADHD, or Cognitive Problems

Children with Autism or ADHD have social problems and may have a hard time staying still. The key features of Autism and ADD include:

  • Problems interacting with others
  • A strange interest in objects
  • A need to follow the same routine
  • Great diversity in abilities
  • Under or over-reaction to one of the five senses.
  • Repeated actions or body movements
  • Unusual emotional reactions and expressions

Autistic children who have repeated actions may have trouble sitting still in a car seat.  They may need special restraints such as harness systems or travel vests so they don’t distract the driver.  

Children With A Feeding Tube 

A child may need a feeding tube because:

  • Their mouth or esophagus is abnormal
  • They have difficulty swallowing or keeping food down.
  • They don’t get enough nutrition or fluids orally

Conditions that can cause them to have trouble eating include cerebral palsy and motor neuron disease. Feeding tubes can cause additional challenges with riding in a car seat. 

If your child has a feeding tube, make sure the car seat doesn’t rub against it. When choosing one, consider the location of the feeding tube and whether it bulges above the skin. When choosing a car seat for a child with a feeding tube, you’ll need an emergency plan to replace the tube in case it comes out.  


Children with hydrocephalus have a lot of cerebrospinal fluid built up. This may cause them to have an unusually large head. If this is the case,  a rear-facing car seat that can tolerate a higher weight may help them. Also, consider choosing a car seat that has more head area or a forward-facing seat that can be semi-reclined.  

Children With A Special Medical Condition 

Children with certain special medical conditions may need a special child restraint called a car bed. These conditions include:

  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta  
  • Myelomeningocele
  • Gastroschisis 
  • Pierre Robin Sequence

If your child is premature and can’t travel at a 45-degree angle and breathe normally, they may also need a car bed. The neonatologist or nurse practitioner will tell you if your child needs this before you leave.

If your child is premature but passed the angle tolerance test in the NICU, but is still less than 5 pounds, they may be able to ride in a car seat that’s made for smaller babies.  

What Does The Most Recent Car Seat Law For Ohio Say?

According to the current Ohio law passed on October 7, 2009 :

  • Children under 4 years old who weigh less than 40 pounds need to federally approved safety seat. 
  • In addition, children under 8 years old who have outgrown safety seats need to use a booster seat until they reach 4 feet 9 inches in height. Children between 8 and 15 years old need a child safety seat or seat belt. 

It’s A Wrap

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for being with us till the end.

Secondly, I would like to bring to your notice that I along with my core team have put loads and loads of effort into coming up with this idiosyncratic superlative piece of information on the topic OHIO CAR SEAT LAWS.

And, in case, you liked our effort and want to appreciate us then please do share this post with like-minded people and the ones who are searching for it.

After all, sharing is caring, isn’t it?

This is everything you need to know about Ohio car seat laws. These laws are important because they keep children safe until they’re old enough to fit in a regular seat belt, so follow them.

If you have questions, contact your child’s pediatrician or the Ohio Department of Education. If your child has special needs and you’re concerned about them riding on a school bus, contact the school or your child’s special education teacher – they may tell you what you can do.

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