As a parent, you frequently act as your children's chauffeur, driving them to daycare, school, the doctor's office and everywhere else they need to be. But are you taking the right precautions to keep your kids safe in the car? Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus reports that more than half of the children killed in car crashes were not using seatbelts or child safety seats. Consider these Ohio laws and suggestions the next time one of your children wants to ride in the front seat.
Requirements by law
- Until children are 4 years old and weigh at least 40 pounds, they must ride in a child safety seat.
- Children aged 4 through 8 must use a booster seat until they reach the height of 4 feet, 9 inches.
- Children 8 through 15 who do not need booster seats must use seatbelts, even in the backseat of the vehicle.
Suggestions to keep children safer on the road
The Ohio State Highway Patrol recommends these practices to help keep your children safer in your vehicle:
- The backseat is the safest place for your children to sit.
- Child safety seats need to fit the child and the car. Not all seats work in every vehicle.
- Always read the installation instructions carefully. If you need help installing a car safety seat, find a local child car seat inspection station.
- Do not allow children to ride in the back of a truck or sleep in the vehicle without proper restraint.
- When children sit in the front seat of a car equipped with airbags, use the appropriate restraints to protect them.
- Never place rear-facing child safety seats in the front seat of a car equipped with a passenger-side airbag. Rear-facing child car seats are designed to go in the backseat of a car.
- Fit harness straps snugly around the child. The plastic retainer clip should be level with the armpits.
- If you use a “hand-me-down” car seat, check for manufacturer’s recalls and the expiration date, which tells you when it should be replaced.
In the event of an accident involving your child
Sometimes, no matter how safe your vehicle and driving are, serious accidents occur. Because children are still growing and developing, an accident involving young people might have more severe consequences than first realized. It is a good idea to have an experienced personal injury attorney assess your claim before settling with an insurance company, to ensure you have all the information you need to make good decisions about your child’s situation.