Child Passenger Safety

We are committed to increase child passenger safety. In Oregon, car crashes continue to be a leading cause of injury for children 0-14 years of age. During the past five years, 9,720 child passengers under age fourteen have been injured as occupants of motor vehicles and thirty-eight were killed. These tragedies can largely be prevented if child safety seats are used properly and consistently. Traffic safety studies confirm that children are up to 71% less likely to be injured or killed in a car crash when properly secured in the right–size child safety seat.

CHILD RESTRAINT LAW
Child passengers must be restrained in approved child safety seats until they weigh forty pounds or reach the upper weight limit for the carseat in use. Infants must ride rear-facing until they reach both one year of age AND twenty pounds.
 
BOOSTER SEAT LAW
Children over forty pounds or who have reached the upper weight limit for their forward-facing carseat must use boosters to 4'9" tall or age eight and the adult belt fits correctly.

REAR SEATING FOR CHILDREN
There is no Oregon law specifically prohibiting children from riding in the front seat of passenger vehicles.  However, a rear-facing infant seat cannot be placed in a front seating position that is equipped with an airbag because this would violate Oregon's requirement for "proper use" of a child safety seat.  There is a national "best practice recommendation" calling for rear seating through age twelve.
 
NATIONAL "BEST PRACTICE" RECOMMENDATIONS
Safety experts have published guidelines which would keep children in each type of child seat longer than Oregon law prescribes, in addition to back seating through age twelve.  Click the link for the latest national best practices recommendations from USDOT National Highway Traffic Safety.

BELT OR BOOSTER?
Belt fit can vary greatly from one vehicle to another and one child to another. If your child meets Oregon's legal requirements for moving from a booster seat to safety belt but you still have doubts about whether your child fits in the belt in your particular vehicle, then the following simple test can help. Place your child in the vehicle without a booster seat and then ask these questions. Until you can answer YES to all of the questions, your child should stay in a booster seat.

  1. Can the child sit all the way back against the vehicle seat?
  2. Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the seat?
  3. Does the shoulder belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
  4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
  5. Can the child stay comfortably seated like this for the whole trip?

It is important to be familiar with best-practice guidelines to protect our children. For information specific to Oregon’s laws and car seat programs visit the website https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TS/Pages/safetybelts.aspx. In addition, ODOT provides funding to support statewide training programs, community car seat fitting stations, and car seat distribution programs. You can find contact information for these resources and more on the web page.

 







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