Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Mar 17, 2022

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Just the Basics

  • Ohio car seat laws require children under 5 years old and 40 pounds to stay in a car seat adequate for their age, height, and weight
  • Children between the ages of 4 and 8 who are at least 40 pounds must be in a booster seat until they are 4 feet, 9 inches tall.
  • Children between the ages of eight and 15 who are taller than 4 feet, 9 inches must use an adult seat belt

If you have children or are getting ready to have children in Ohio, it’s essential to understand the laws about car seats and proper child restraint systems. In addition, if you’re in an accident, you want your child to be safe and prevent legal ramifications from not following the Ohio car seat laws.

Below, we’ll discuss Ohio car seat laws, car seat manufacturer requirements, and general safety recommendations. Keep reading below to ensure you’re restraining your child correctly.

What are the rules for children’s car seats in Ohio?

Ohio enforces children’s car seat laws to ensure children are safe in a vehicle. Ohio’s car seat laws are based on child passenger safety recommendations that consider a child’s age, height, and weight. Car seat manufacturers also have suggestions.

Ohio law requires:

  • Infants and young children stay in a car seat until they are 4 years old and over 40 pounds.
  • Children between the ages of 4 and 8 who are at least 40 pounds must be in a booster seat until they are at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall.
  • Children between the ages of 8 and 15 who exceed 4 feet, 9 inches must use an adult seat belt.

Ohio car seat laws for rear-facing child restraints dictate that a child should remain in a rear-facing seat until at least 2 years old. However, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, if your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, you may move the child to a front-facing car seat.

Once your child moves to a front-facing car seat, Ohio car seat laws for front-facing child restraints require that the child remains in a car seat until they are at least 4 years old and 40 pounds, at which time you can transfer them to a booster seat. As previously stated, booster seat laws in Ohio require a child to be at least 8 years old and 4 feet, 9 inches tall before moving out of a booster seat.

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When can children ride in the front seat?

Ohio does not have any specific laws against children sitting in the front seat. Therefore, Ohio car seat laws for pickup trucks would allow a child to be placed in the front seat if they are in the proper child restraint. Manufacturers do not recommend placing a car seat in the front seat or turning the airbags off if you don’t have a choice.

The American Academy of Pediatrics car seat safety recommendations suggest children should not ride in the front seat until they are at least 13 years old. In addition, you should ensure that your child has outgrown the car seat height and weight requirements from your state and car seat manufacturer before letting them sit in the front seat.

Do you need to wear your seat belt in Ohio?

Children under the age of 8 must be in a booster seat or car seat adequate for their age, height, and weight. Children between the ages of 8 and 15 must wear an adult seat belt. In addition, the driver and any passengers in the front seat must wear a seat belt.

However, Ohio state law does not require teenagers and adults over the age of 15 to wear a seat belt if they are riding in the back seat. We highly recommend that everyone wear a seat belt any time they are in a vehicle.

Is it illegal to smoke with kids in the car in Ohio?

Currently, it is legal to smoke with children in the car in Ohio. However, a Senate bill has been proposed to make it illegal to smoke with children under 6 in a vehicle. If you choose to smoke with your children in the car, you should consider the potential health hazards that secondhand smoke can present. Stay up-to-date on the laws so that you understand the legal consequences of your actions.

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What are the consequences of disobeying the Ohio car seat laws?

The penalties for disobeying the Ohio car seat laws will increase with every violation.

The first violation of Ohio child car seat laws will result in a fine of between $25 and $75.

The second violation of Ohio child car seat laws may result in a $250 fine and a fourth-degree misdemeanor that could lead to 30 days in jail.

Finally, the third violation of Ohio child car seat laws may result in a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.

Where can you get help with car seats in Ohio?

If you cannot afford a child’s car seat or booster seat, the Ohio Buckles Buckeyes program may provide you with a free car seat if you meet income eligibility requirements. If you’d like to learn more, contact your Ohio Passenger Safety Regional Coordinators.

You could also contact your local fire department or health care provider for a free car seat inspection to ensure that your child’s car seat is correctly installed.

Following the laws, regulations, and suggestions above will ensure that you don’t face fines, jail time, or other consequences. However, it will enhance your child’s safety if you experience an accident while in the car.