Car seat laws in Oregon pertain to all child passengers who are younger than eight years of age or shorter than four feet nine inches tall. However, under the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Occupant Protection Program, drivers must abide by two types of laws.

For instance, under the Child Safety Seat Law, children must use appropriately sized safety restraints if they weigh less than 40 pounds.

Under the state’s Booster Seat Laws, children must use a forward-facing seat or a booster seat if they weigh more than 40 pounds but are not old or tall enough to use an adult seatbelt. These laws are in place to deter injury or death in the event of an auto accident.

To improve car seat safety in Oregon, local organizations offer free seat installation services. For instance, Oregon Impact works with volunteer safety restraint technicians to provide drivers with free safety checks and hands-on installation tutorials. Drivers who fail to comply with these laws and regulations are subject to paying traffic tickets if cited.

To learn more about the state’s car seat requirements and to learn how to install a vehicle safety restraint, review the information below.

What are the car seat laws in Oregon?

As part of the car and booster seat laws in Oregon, child passengers must use an appropriately sized safety seat whenever they ride in a motor vehicle. Under these laws, a child must:

  • Use a child car seat such as rear- or forward-facing restraint until he or she reaches 40 pounds in weight or exceeds the weight limit for his or her specific restraint model.
  • Use a rear-facing seat if he or she is younger than two years of age, unless the child turned one prior to May 26, 2017.
  • Use a child booster seat or a forward-facing seat if he or she weighs more than 40 pounds.
  • Use a safety seat with a harness or a booster seat if he or she is younger than eight years of age or shorter than four feet nine inches tall.

Once a child exceeds the car and booster seat age or height requirements, he or she may use an adult seat belt. The licensed driver operating the vehicle must ensure passengers are properly restrained regardless if he or she is the parent or caregiver of the minor.

Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in Oregon

If motorists violate the OR car seat law, then they will be convicted of a Class D traffic infraction. The standard fine for committing a Class D violation in Oregon is $115.

Types of Car Seats

The best car seats for young passengers often includes rear- or front-facing seats with harnesses and high-back or backless booster seats. Under the OR child car seat laws, children must:

  • Ride in a rear facing car seat until they turn two years of age unless they turned one before May 26, 2017. Rear-facing seats include infant, convertible and all-in-one seats. While convertible car seats can face the rear or front of a vehicle, all-in-one seats can face the front or back of a vehicle, or they can transform into a booster seat for older or taller children.
  • Ride in a forward facing car seat with a harness OR on a booster seat until they meet the minimum age and height requirements. In Oregon, children must use a car or booster seat until they turn eight years of age or reach four feet nine inches tall. Forward-facing seats include convertible, combination and all-in-one seats, while booster seats include high-back or backless seats.

While the safest car seats for infants tend to be rear-facing seats, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends products from brands such as 4moms, Baby Jogger, Baby Trend, Britax, Cybex, Graco, Kiddy Evolution and UPPAbaby.

As for convertible seats that can face the front or back of a vehicle, the NHTSA recommends models such as the Britax Advocate and Boulevard ClickTight, Chicco NextFit, Evenflo Platinum Triumph, Graco Contender 65 and Graco Extend2Fit.

Note: While drivers must follow these car seat guidelines whenever they transport a child passenger, there is no Oregon law that prohibits a child from riding in the front seat of a vehicle. However, drivers cannot place rear-facing safety seats in the front seat of a vehicle, as doing so is unlawful and unsafe.

Additionally, most states agree that children should ride in the rear of a vehicle until they turn 12 years of age.

Car Seat Installation Information

Car seat installations vary depending on the specific product type. Therefore, motorists must refer to their vehicle’s instruction manual and the product installation materials that came with their car or booster seat. However, the following tips can help to simplify the installation process:

  • Boosters – If installing a booster seat, then start by placing the booster flat against a vehicle’s rear seat. Then, have the child sit on the booster and use a seat belt to buckle him or her in. The shoulder belt should rest across the child’s chest, with the lap belt against his or her thighs.
  • Rear-facing seats – If installing a rear-facing seat for an infant, then install the seat at a slight recline to keep the child’s airway open. In many cases, the recline will need to be adjusted as the child grows.
  • Forwardfacing car seats – If installing a forward-facing seat that contains a tether strap, then secure the strap to the vehicle’s tether anchor. Doing so will keep the child’s head in place in the event of a crash.

For assistance in installing a car seat, state residents may contact Oregon Impact to obtain a list of upcoming car seat check-up events. Alternately, Oregon residents may contact their local fire department or children’s hospital to schedule an installation appointment.

Last updated on Wednesday, September 23 2020.