Oklahoma Car Seat Laws
Drivers must abide by the car seat laws in Oklahoma whenever they operate a motor vehicle with a child passenger who is younger than eight years of age or shorter than four feet nine inches tall. For assistance in installing a child car seat, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) employs Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Technicians who are available to inspect or install car seats at no charge.
For additional information, residents must contact their local county health department.
To increase car seat safety in OK, local county health departments also provide qualifying low-income families with free child safety restraints. To qualify, applicants must receive some type of government aid (such as WIC, Medicaid or SNAP) and a child must be present when the parent or legal guardian requests the free car seat.
To learn more about these car seat requirements and to discover the penalties of breaking them, review the sections below.
What are the car seat laws in Oklahoma?
The Oklahoma car seat law requires licensed drivers to properly secure children in an approved safety seat that complies with the state’s Child Passenger Safety (CSP) Law. For instance, as part of these car and booster seat laws:
- Children who are younger than two years of age must sit in a secure rear-facing seat.
- Children who are younger than four years of age must sit in a secure car seat with an internal four-or five-point harness, such as a forward-facing seat.
- Children who are younger than eight years of age or shorter than four feet nine inches tall must use an appropriate-sized booster or car seat.
- Children who are taller than four feet nine inches or older than eight years of age may use an adult seat belt.
Note: While children who exceed the minimum car or booster seat age and height requirements may use an adult seatbelt when riding in a motor vehicle, the OSDH recommends keeping children younger than 13 years of age in the back seat for the greatest level of safety.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in Oklahoma
If drivers violate the OK booster seat laws, then they receive a traffic ticket. The citation is a $50 fine in addition to any applicable court costs. However, after the first violation of this law, the DPS may suspend the $50 fine if drivers can present proof of acquiring an appropriate child restraint system. Drivers may consult a traffic attorney as needed.
Types of Car Seats
Oklahoma car seat laws require children to use properly secured child restraint devices whenever they travel in a motor vehicle. However, the type of restraint system they need to use varies depending on their age or height. According to the OSDH, the safest car seats for children of different ages and heights include:
- Rear facing car seat restraints for infants and children up to two years of age. While the state’s CSP law requires that children and young infants use rear-facing seats when traveling in a vehicle, these types of seats also allow children to travel in the safest possible way. These seats are available as three-in-one, convertible and infant models.
- Forward facing car seat restraints for children between two and four years of age. The seat must also contain an internal four- or five-point harness. However, five-point harnesses are the safest types of seats for children. These seats are available as combination, convertible or three-in-one models.
- Child booster seat restraints for children between four and eight years of age, or until child passengers can fit into an adult seat belt. Different types of booster seats include combination or three-in-one models.
In order to avoid paying a traffic citation and buying multiple products, a convertible car seat is a good option for parents, as it can switch between forward- and rear-facing.
While booster seat weight requirements vary by product manufacturer, children generally only need to use this type of seat until they turn eight years of age or grow to four feet nine inches tall. Once children can fit into an adult seat belt, they do not need to use a car or booster seat.
Furthermore, several of the best car seats for infants are available from brands such as 4moms, Baby Trend, Cybex, Evenflo, Graco, The First Years, UPPAbaby and Kiddy Evolution. Top-rated combination seats include the Britax Frontier ClickTight and Pinnacle ClickTight front-facing models, the Graco Argos 80 Elite front-facing seat, and the Graco Nautilus 65LX booster.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), these brands sell many models with five-star safety ratings.
Car Seat Installation Information
During the car seat installation process, drivers must refer to their vehicle’s ownership handbook as well as the instruction manual that came with their child restraint device. Depending on the vehicle and restraint type, motorists will need to install the device using the car’s seat belt or lower anchors.
Most vehicles contain at least two lower anchors near its rear seats.
During the car or booster seat installation process, motorists must complete the following steps:
- Place the child restraint device in the back of the vehicle and follow the seat manufacturer’s installation instructions.
- Secure the car seat to the rear of the vehicle, ensuring that the seat cannot move more than one inch from front-to-back or side-to-side.
- Secure the car seat’s tether strap to the vehicle’s tether anchor if installing a forward-facing seat.
- Install rear-facing car seats at a slight recline, as doing so is needed to keep a child’s airway open
- Use the vehicle’s seat belt to buckle the child in if using a booster seat.
Note: After installing a booster seat, make sure that the shoulder belt rests across the child’s chest and the lap belt rests against his or her upper thighs.