One of the most common causes of child injury or death are decisions made by parents pertaining to car seat safety. As Oklahoma personal injury lawyers, we are committed to educating parents throughout Oklahoma about our state’s car seat laws, as well as providing tips for keeping your child safe while in your vehicle.
Unfortunately, thousands of children are injured or killed every year by safety seats that are either improperly fastened or used incorrectly. As most car accidents happen within a mile of the home, it is imperative that your child is buckled into a safety seat for every single trip, regardless of the distance. If you buy a used safety seat, make sure you know its full crash history before purchasing. It is generally recommended that you only buy a used car seat from someone you know, not from a thrift store or over the internet.
Below we will go over Oklahoma’s car seat safety laws as well as a few tips to educate and instruct you on how your child should be secured into his or her car safety seat.
Oklahoma Car Seat Laws
The state of Oklahoma requires parents and caretakers follow the below child car seat safety laws:
- Children 5 years of age and younger must be in an appropriate child safety seat
- Children ages 6 through 12 must be restrained in either a child safety seat or seat belt
- Children weighing more than 40 pounds may use a lap-only safety belt if rear seating positions do not have a lap/shoulder seat belt system
- There is no rear-facing car seat law in Oklahoma
- Oklahoma has no preference on the child’s seating position
- The maximum fine for a first offense is $50 and up to $207.90, including court costs
Following the above listed laws will help prevent ejection, help the child’s body “ride down” the crash, and protect the head and spinal cord in the event of an accident.
Tips to Help Prevent Injury
In order to keep your child safe when riding in your vehicle, please take the following tips into consideration:
- For the best protection, keep your baby in a rear-facing car seat until they are roughly 2 years old
- When your child has outgrown a rear-facing seat, move them to a forward-facing car seat
- Make sure you attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower anchors
- Use the top tether until your child weighs 40 pounds
- In some cases, your child can remain in a forward-facing car seat until they are 65 to 80 pounds, depending on the particular seat limits
- Always check the label on your car seat to make sure it is appropriate for your child’s age, weight, and height
- Be aware of your car seat’s expiration date – which is usually around six years
If your child has been injured in an accident due to the negligence of a caretaker or other adult, please contact one of our Oklahoma car accident attorneys today.