Ohio Car Seat Laws – Everything You Need to Know

Ohio Car Seat Laws - Everything You Need to Know

Which parent doesn’t want to keep their child safe?

I’m sure we all do. 

And this is why it’s so important to know and obey the Ohio car seat laws. 

On top of that, we need to obey the seat belt laws, too, to keep us safe and allow us to be there for our children. 

But what exactly does the law say?

We’re here to tell you all you need to know. 

So let’s get started!

Car Seat Laws in Ohio

Ohio Car Seat Laws

Ohio law requires children 8 years old and younger to be restrained in a child restraint system, whether a car seat or booster seat. 

Let’s look at the specifics. 

For children up to 4 years old

They must be seated in a rear or front-facing car seat. Make sure that they match (and don’t go over) the weight and height requirements of the car seat’s manufacturer. 

The car seat should also meet federal safety standards and fit perfectly in your vehicle. 

What’s more, the seat must be installed at the back — never in the front. 

For children over 4 but under 8 years old

If the child is anywhere between 4-8 years old, weighs at least 40 pounds, and is shorter than 4’9, a booster seat is required. This seat boosts the child up so they can properly fit the seat belt. 

Again, it must be secured properly, meet federal safety standards, and be installed at the back. 

For children over 8 but under 15 years old

Once your child reaches 8-15 years old and stands taller than 4’9, they can upgrade to an adult seat belt. However, if you see that the seat belt still doesn’t fit securely, it’s best to prolong using a booster seat. 

Also, children aged 12 and younger should always sit at the back. 

Car Seat Penalties in Ohio

Ohio car seat laws are a secondary offense. This means that you need to commit another violation for an officer to charge you for this law. 

So officers can’t stop you if they see a child without restraints inside a moving vehicle. 

Let’s say, you do commit another violation and are also charged with breaking the car seat law. 

If so, you’ll have to pay a fine of $25 for the first offense. This increases for each subsequent offense. 

In addition to the monetary penalty, Ohio courts can also suspend your driver’s license if they find that you are repeatedly non-compliant with Ohio car seat laws. 

Car Seat Exemptions in Ohio

There are a few exemptions to the Ohio car seat laws. 

This law does not apply if you’re riding a taxi, public safety vehicle, or a vehicle not required to have seat belts, such as a school bus. 

Other Ohio Laws and Rules for Children in Cars 

Besides car seats, the State of Ohio implements other laws and rules related to children in cars. This includes:

  • Never leave children unattended inside or around motor vehicles. If left inside, the temperature change is severe for children, causing heat strokes. 
  • Always check your backseat before stepping out of your vehicle. If you’re in a panic or mindless state, you might forget that your child is with you.
  • Request to set up a drop-off policy with your childcare provider. Ask to be contacted if your child doesn’t arrive on time. 
  • Remember to lock your car doors and trunk before leaving it. Ask your friends, neighbors, and childcare providers to do the same. You don’t want a child to get inside and have access to the vehicle. 
  • If a child goes missing, check the trunks and passenger compartments of every vehicle in the area. 
  • If you see a child alone in a car, follow these steps:
    • Dial 911 immediately
    • Check for unlocked doors
    • Try to locate the child’s parents
    • Stay with the child until help arrives

NOTE: If the child appears unresponsive or is in distress, take immediate action. Good Samaritan laws in Ohio protect you from legal repercussions for responding to an emergency. Don’t be afraid to break a window if needed. 

Seat Belt Law in Ohio

Children are not the only ones that need protection. 

And because of that, the Ohio seat belt law states that front-seat passengers must wear a seat belt. Yes, even if the vehicle is equipped with airbags. 

What’s more, anyone under 16 years old has to wear a seat belt, no matter if they sit in the front or back. 

If the driver is under 18 years old, then all passengers (whether front or back) are required to wear a seat belt. 

This is not required for adult passengers seated at the back (unless the driver is under 18) — however, it’s still highly recommended that they wear one for safety. 

Seat Belt Penalties in Ohio

Just like the car seat laws, the seat belt law is a secondary offense. 

If you’re caught violating another law without wearing a seat belt, you will be fined up to $100 (and that’s for the seat belt law alone).

Now, the fine typically starts at $30 for the driver and $20 for the passenger. The other costs will depend on the court fees. 

How to Wear A Seat Belt Properly

It’s not enough to just wear your seat belt…

You have to make sure you wear it PROPERLY.

Here’s how to do that:

  • Adjust the seat belt so it fits snugly and comfortably around your body. The shoulder strap should sit across your chest, not behind your back or over your shoulder.
  • The lap belt should be positioned low across the hips and should fit snugly around the upper thighs — not across the stomach. Make sure it is free from any twists or kinks. 
  • Make sure you can move freely, but the belt should remain snug against your body. 
  • Check that all of the belts are securely fastened. The locking mechanism should be engaged and the seatbelt should not be loose or have any slack. 


And those were the Ohio car seat laws and seat belt laws. 

Remember, these laws are there to protect us.

If you think that it’s inconvenient, just remember that these devices can save lives. 

So make sure you keep your child, your passengers, and yourself secured in the proper restraint. 

Always choose to be a responsible and safe driver!

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