Oklahoma Car Seat Laws

Beginner Info, Car Seat

oklahoma car seat laws
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In this post, I’ll walk you through various aspects of Oklahoma Car Seat Laws in order to help you in the best possible ways that I can.

Moreover, I’ll also be responding to queries related to Oklahoma car seat laws in order to clear your doubts.

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

It goes without saying that transporting an infant or even a grown-up child from one location to another can be tedious and time-consuming at times if the kid isn’t properly trained to be in a safe car seat.

By assigning a proper safety child seat to your child, you can have much-needed peace of mind as you’re sure that even during a car crash or any other unprecedented scenario, your child is safe and secured.

Does it make sense?

As per the claim of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are among the leading causes of death among children.

However, the good news is, that the proper alignment of safety car seats has saved approximately 325 children whose ages were less than 4 years in the year 2017 itself.

It’s not only about using a safety car seat rather it’s about proper installation and alignment of child safety car seats as per the weight and height limits mentioned by the manufacturer.

As per the Oklahoma State Department of Health claims, four out of five children’s safety car seats aren’t inclined or used properly which isn’t a piece of good news for sure.

Many of our readers wouldn’t be aware of the fact that if car seats and booster seats are installed properly in a vehicle then it can reduce the risk of death among infants less than 12 months by 71 percent and for kids in the age group of 1 to 4 years by 54 percent.

Oklahoma’s current car seat law was instituted in 2015 and hasn’t changed since. It requires that children be in car seats until they are 8 years old. They have one of the strictest car seat laws, compared to many other states that only require children under 1 to be in rear-facing car seats. In Oklahoma, children under 2 must be in a rear-facing car seat and can only be in a booster seat when they outgrow the height and weight requirements for a harnessed, forward-facing seat. The fine for not complying with the rules is $50.

In order to keep your child safe and yourself out of trouble including paying penalties due to violation of car seat laws, you must be well aware of Oklahoma car seat laws.

Car Seat Laws in Oklahoma

As per the current Oklahoma car seat laws, a child must use a safety car seat that meets the federal standards according to the FMVSS213 until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall.

Once the child crosses the 4 feet 9 inches height mark, he or she should ride in the back seat till the time they cross the 13 years of age mark.

Needless to say, each state has its own car seat laws to provide safety and security to the children.

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Oklahoma Car Seat Laws for Babies

As per the Oklahoma car set laws, any child under 2 years of age must be secured in a rear-facing child car seat.

In fact, both infant and convertible car seats will do the trick for you.

Small children are advised to travel rear-facing till the time they haven’t surpassed the weight and height limits set by the manufacturer.

Needless to say, a child can easily ride rear-facing in most convertible car seats till the time they have reached the 2 years of age mark.

If your child has surpassed the weight and height limit of a small rear-facing-only car seat then he or she can be moved to an upgraded and bigger rear-facing convertible car seat that can carry initially rear-facing and then forward-facing as your child grows.

Frankly speaking, using a rear-facing car seat is definitely one of the safest ways to ride with your infant because during an unprecedented scenario such as a car crash, the car seat cradles and moves with your kids, and as a result, the stress and impact of external forces on important areas such as spinal cord and neck reduce drastically.

For example, in a front-end car crash, your child’s neck, head, and spine will move evenly into the car seat, and not away from it.

As per the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child must remain in the rear-facing car seat till the time he or she has crossed the weight and height limits set by the manufacturer, irrespective of age.

At the same time, parents should understand the importance of the backseat and thus place their kids in the back seat in the rear-facing position.

However, if your vehicle doesn’t have the back seat then you can place your child in the front passenger seat only if the airbag is disabled or not present.

Oklahoma Car Seat Laws for Children

According to Oklahoma law, a child can ride forward-facing only if he or she has reached the 2-year age mark.

However, it’s always good to position your kid rear-facing for as long as possible or till the time, he or she hasn’t surpassed the weight and height limits set by the manufacturer.

Once your kid has surpassed the height and/or weight limit for a rear-facing car seat, he or she should be upgraded to a forward-facing car seat with a 5-point harness and top tether.

Once your child surpasses the weight and height limits set by the manufacturer for the forward-facing car seat, he or she should be moved to a seat belt with a top tether.

Moreover, when you buy a car seat it is solely your responsibility to check whether your child needs or not a forward-facing harnessed seat with a greater height or weight limit before transiting to a booster seat.

From my past experience and knowledge that I’ve gathered over two decades, all I can say is, that NOT EVERY CHILD IS READY FOR A BOOSTER SEAT.

I don’t deny the probability that you may need to recline your seat in order to sit upright in your car.

Nonetheless, it’s always good to check the instructions provided with the car seat.

As far as I know, all the forward-facing car seats come with tether straps so I don’t find a reason why one shouldn’t use the tether.

Furthermore, vehicles manufactured after September 2000 are required by the Oklahoma car seat law to have tether anchors (cars, minivans, SUVs).

In fact, the tether connects to the top of the car seat.

Furthermore, it connects to an anchor point in the vehicle, usually on the rear shelf or the seatback.

At the same time, you need to understand that every car is different and hence it’s always a good idea to check the owner’s manual for more information, isn’t it?

In case of an accident or sudden stop, the tether plays a crucial role in keeping the car seat as well as the child’s head from moving too far forward.

What I’ll suggest is that you should always use a tether until your child reaches the weight limit for the tether anchor.

Find out about the weight and limit where the tether anchors are located in the car seat and the vehicle owner’s manual.

Booster Seat Laws in Oklahoma

When your child has crossed the weight and height limits of forward-facing car seats then he or she needs to be moved to a booster car seat.

However, it is important that you put your child in a booster seat used with the vehicle lap and shoulder seat belt.

Moreover, if the top of your child’s ears reach the top of the seat and their shoulders are above the top harness slots, then in such a scenario, your child definitely needs a booster seat.

Under Oklahoma law, all children younger than 8 years and older than 4 years must ride in a car seat or booster seat if they are not taller than 4 feet 9 inches.

Furthermore, parents should use booster seats until their child can adequately fit into a seat belt and sit properly in the back seat.

Here is a self-explanatory video that clearly depicts how to properly secure your child in a booster seat.

It’s always good to move your child to a booster seat only after he or she has crossed the weight and height limits of a forward-facing car seat.

It goes without saying that your child is safer in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and top tether.

Needless to say, the only protection that a booster seat gives to your child is a lap and shoulder belt.

If a child is moved too early to a booster seat then you can’t negate the possibility of him or her not being mature enough to understand the importance of staying safe while riding in the car.

If your child isn’t comfortable in a booster car seat then you can definitely move him or her back to a forward-facing car seat.

When Can a Child Stop Using a Booster Seat in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, all children of Oklahoma who are older than 8 years and taller than 4 feet 9 inches should buckle up for sure.

However, if a child is older than 8 years but hasn’t reached the 4 feet 9 inches height limit then make sure he or she stays in a booster car seat.

From my past experience, all I can say is that there are some children who’ll not fit properly in a seat belt until they are 12.

At the same time, any child shouldn’t tuck the seat belt under their arms or behind their back because their upper body will be unprotected and are at a high risk of severe injuries in case of a car accident or any other unprecedented event.

Even though you’re child doesn’t require a seat belt anymore, as a responsible parent you need to ensure that they are safely restrained with a seat belt.

The Seat Belt Fit Test

The 5-step booster test will help you to understand how comfortable and safe your child is with a safety car seat.

  • Do their backs touch the back of the seat?
  • Do their knees bend comfortably over the vehicle seat?
  • Does the shoulder belt lay between their shoulder and neck?
  • Does the belt lay below their hips and just above their thighs?
  • Can they sit like that for the entire car ride?

You need to ask the aforementioned questions to your child, and if he or she replies with a “yes” to all the questions, then definitely, your child is ready to move beyond a booster car seat.

When using a seat belt make sure it lies across the middle of the chest and shoulder and is low and snug across the upper thighs and NOT the BELLY.

When Can a Child Seat in the Front Seat in Oklahoma?

To my knowledge, Oklahoma doesn’t have any specific guidelines for when a child can ride in the front seat.

However, the national recommendation is that children under the age of 13 must be in the back seat.

  • The back seat is always safer for anyone, regardless of their age, since most car crashes happen in the front portion of the vehicle. The back seat suffers less impact in the case of a front-end car crash
  • Front seat airbags can hurt small children because they were designed for 140-pound adults wearing seat belts. Airbags can hit children in the face, neck, head, or chest. 
  • Children’s bones are more fragile than adults. Children under 12 have underdeveloped iliac crests, which keep the set belt in place on the hips
  • Children can develop seat belt syndrome

Oklahoma Taxi Car Seat Laws

As per the Oklahoma car seat laws, taxis aren’t required to have safety belts.

Taxis, Uber, and Lyft are exempt from car seat and child passenger restraint system requirements.

Not only the taxis but the exemption also applies to school buses.

Well, if children are riding a school bus, then they do not need to use car seats or booster seats.

Leaving Child Unattended Law in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, it is illegal to leave any child who is less than 6 years old unattended in a car.

However, this rule doesn’t apply if the child is accompanied by another person who is at least 12 years old and capable of handling themselves.

If you’re leaving your child unattended in Oklahoma, then you’ll be fined at least $200 for the first time, and if you repeat the same mistake again, then you’ll have to pay a fine of $500.

Furthermore, if the adult who left the child in a car unattended is under the influence of alcohol, then the fine starts at $1000.

Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations

Oklahoma fines people at least $50 plus all court costs for not complying with car seat regulations.

In fact, people will not get points on their driving records.

Can You Smoke in the Car with Children in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, it’s not illegal to smoke in the car with children.

However, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend smoke-free vehicles for children. 

Other Useful Resources

The below-mentioned resources can be of great help to you.

Choosing The Right Type of Car Seat In Oklahoma

  • Infant Car Seat: Your baby will probably be using an infant car seat from newborn until they reach the age of 2 or the weight or height limit for the seat. Check the labels before buying because most people grow out of them before turning 1. Infant car seats are set in the rear-facing position and are usually portable.
  • Convertible Car Seat: You need to take your baby out when you arrive at your destination. Convertible car seats can be used in the rear- and forward-facing positions.
  • All-in-one Car Seat: Similar to convertible car seats, the all-in-one car seat (also 3-in-1 or 4-in-one) turns into a booster seat, saving you from buying yet another car gear for your child.
  • Booster Car Seat: When your child reaches 30 pounds, they can start riding in a booster seat. However, check with your state’s car seat law what their weight requirement is before you put your child in a booster seat. 
  • RideSafer Travel Vest: If you don’t own a car and commute by carpool or taxi often or travel a lot, the RideSafer travel vest is a convenient solution to keep your child safe. In Oklahoma, children older than 3 can use this vest instead of a forward-facing or booster seat. RideSafer is an FMVSS 213-certified child restraint that brings the seat belt to your child’s level. Learn more about it here.

Registering Your Car Seat

Car seats come with a registration card. You should complete and mail it so that the manufacturer can notify you in case of a safety recall. 

Assistance with Free or Low-Cost Car Seats

Car seat assistance is available at the following locations:

The Highway Safety Office will give a free car seat to those who can’t afford to buy one.

It’s A Wrap

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