One of the most important jobs you have as a parent is keeping your child safe when riding in a vehicle. 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. These tragedies can largely be prevented if child safety seats are used properly and consistently.
As a parent you may find it overwhelming choosing the correct seat with so many options on the market. Click here to visit healthychildren.org for more useful information on choosing the perfect 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, however the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all infants ride rear facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they are at least 2 years of age or, preferably, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat manufacturer.
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.
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.
It is important to be familiar with best-practice guidelines to protect our children. Click here for more information specific to Oregon’s laws and car seat programs. 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.