In Oregon, so many car crash victims get serious injuries (or worse, death) because they were not using safety restraint systems.
Yes, it’s as simple as that.
So to encourage people to use them, the State of Oregon implements car seat and seat belt laws.
And to help you, we’re going to first go over the Oregon car seat laws — what the law says, the penalties, and car seat recommendations.
While we’re at it, we’ll also talk about the unattended children law.
Then, we’ll move on to the seat belt laws — what the law says, the penalties, and the importance of wearing a seat belt.
So buckle up and let’s go!
Car Seat Laws in Oregon
Here are the Oregon car seat laws:
- Infants below 2 years old are required to be in a rear-facing car seat.
- Children 2+ years old that weigh less than 40 pounds should be in a child safety seat, whether in a rear- or forward-facing car seat.
- Children 4 years old and weighing above 40 pounds should be in a child seat with a harness or booster seat.
- Children 8 years old and reaching the height of 4’9” can already use seat belts — but only if it fits properly.
Can children stay in the front?
While there’s no law stating that children can’t sit in the front, rear-facing car seats are not allowed to be in front.
So if your child is required to use a rear-facing car seat, they should be at the back.
That said, it’s much safer to seat your kids at the back regardless of what car seat or booster seat they’re using.
Car Seat Recommendations in Oregon
Yes, state law only requires a rear-facing car seat for children below 2 years old.
However, the State of Oregon listed some recommendations on when you should use other types of child safety seats:
- Rear-facing seat – use as long as possible, even if your kid is already 2 years old. You should replace it, however, once your kid reaches the height and weight limit of the manufacturer.
- Forward-facing seat – use from 2 years old up to when the child is 40 pounds or when they reach the height and weight limit of the car seat.
- Booster seat – use from 4-8 years old or until the adult seat belt fits the child properly.
- Seat belt – use for 8-year-olds and above IF the seat belt fits them properly.
Car Seat Penalties in Oregon
It is the driver’s responsibility to place children in the proper car seats or booster seats.
If you violate this law, you’ll be given a traffic ticket and fined $115.
It’s important to note that this is primary enforcement.
That means that a traffic enforcement officer can stop you if they see children unrestrained in the vehicle.
Unattended Children Law in Oregon
Car seats are not the only way to keep your child safe.
Did you know that children are likely to get heat stroke if left in a vehicle?
This is why the State of Oregon passed the unattended children law.
This states that no child below 10 years old should be left unattended inside a vehicle — or ANY place for that matter.
If you break this law, you will be charged with child neglect. This will be a second-degree, Class A misdemeanor.
Oregon Seat Belt Law
Now, let’s move on to the adults.
In Oregon, EVERYONE is required to wear a seat belt.
Yes, this applies if you are seated in the front or back.
No questions asked.
Seat Belt Penalties in Oregon
Just like the car seat laws, the seat belt law is primary enforcement.
So you better buckle up.
If you don’t, then you’ll be fined an average of $115. This can go as high as $250 or as low as $65, depending on the situation.
The Importance of Safety Belts
We’ve talked about how important safety belts are at the start, but let’s shine a spotlight on that.
Why are safety belts and car seats SO important?
Here are some reasons:
- These restraints keep you inside the vehicle. In a big crash, the impact might toss you around or through you outside. But with a safety belt, you are secured in your seat.
- These restraints give you protection when a driver suddenly stops or swerves. Safety belts don’t need a collision to provide protection!
- These restraints reduce injuries even when you’re inside the vehicle. A seat belt helps you stay close to your seat and not hit the sides or the dashboard.
- These restraints work with airbags. Don’t think that an airbag is good enough to protect you. If you’re not wearing a seat belt, airbags won’t be as effective.
- These restraints distribute impact force. The shoulder and lap belt will distribute the impact to the stronger parts of your body, making it less likely to get an injury in a more sensitive area, like your head or chest.
And those were the Oregon car seat laws, as well as the seat belt laws.
Don’t think that this is a small matter.
There have been so many lives lost simply because they refused to use a safety restraint.
On the flip side, so many lives have been spared thanks to these safety restraints.
So as a responsible parent and driver, always keep your children in the proper car seat.
As for you, always buckle up — even if you’re just doing a 5-minute drive to the store.