SAFETY BLOG

December 14, 2017

New Oklahoma Child Car Seat Laws

Car Seat Laws in Oklahoma

What You Need To Know About The New Oklahoma Child Car Seat Law

Oklahoma child car seat law is set to change to help protect our kids from being hurt in car wrecks. Here’s what you need to know to be ready for the change and keep your family safe:[1]

A new Oklahoma law will take effect on November 1, 2015 that will change the car seat requirements for Oklahoma drivers and their children passengers.[2]

  • The new law requires children under two years of age to be rear facing.
  • The new law requires children from ages two to four to be in a car seat, which may be forward facing.
  • The law raises the age requirement for a booster seat from six years old to eight years old.
  • The change in law follows recommendations set out by federal agencies and the American Academy of Pediatrics.[3]

My oldest son was born a month before I finished my undergraduate degree and started law school. As a young student my wife and I would often drive 45 minutes to her parent’s house so she could get a break and I could study.

This meant lot of time with my infant son in the rear facing car seat. Saying that the child hated the car seat is the understatement of the century; he wailed like a banshee as soon as the buckles snapped. Often the screaming continued until he would fall asleep, usually just in time to get where we were going.

We followed the manufacturer instructions and turned him around forward facing as soon as he met the minimum weight requirement.

Unfortunately, it turned out he was going to scream at us no matter how he was turned. Fortunately, we never had to rely upon the car seat to protect him from a wreck.

The Center for Disease Control reports that automobile wrecks are among the leading causes of death among young children; a cause of death that we can do much to help prevent.

In March of 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics published a report updating its standard for children in car seats. The AAP now recommends that children under the age of two are safest when they seat rear facing. By sitting in a rear-facing car seat, the most likely forces imposed on the child will be better distributed over the entire body.

When a child under two years old is forward facing during a wreck, they are much more likely to suffer serious injuries to their head, neck, chest and other areas.

The report also noted that parents are often excited to see their children move on to the next step in their development. If you need convincing of this fact please consult the Facebook feed of the mother or grandmother of your nearest infant and you will see an almost never ending photo and video collection of baby “firsts”.

But, when it comes to moving the car seat around, parents need to take it slow. Experts agree that rear facing is safest until the child is at least two years old and has outgrown the upper end of the weight requirement.

The Oklahoma Legislature acted upon the AAP recommendations this year and Governor Fallin signed the bill into law, going into effect November 1, 2015. To ensure the safest ride for kids though, the law should be looked at as the minimum standard.

Kids are safest when they sit rear facing until they have outgrown the weight requirement for the seat. This means they are often over the age of two by the time it is safest to turn them forward facing.

The new Oklahoma law requires kids to sit in a forward facing car seat until age 4.

The Center for Disease control recommends that kids stay in a forward facing car seat until at least age five and then to stay in the forward facing car seat until they reach the upper end of the seat weight requirement.

The new law requires kids to be in a booster until they reach eight years old. Again, the CDC has a bit more strict recommendations. They say kids safest in a booster seat until they they are tall enough for a lap belt to sit across their thighs, not their belly, and the shoulder strap to cross their chest, not their neck.

The CDC also recommends kids sit in the back seat until they have reached the age of 12. Oklahoma so far has no age restriction for sitting in the front seat.

Above all, be safe and do your part to help put us lawyers like us out of business!

 

For more information please see http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/child_passenger_safety/cps-factsheet.html and http://www.safercar.gov/parents/CarSeats/Car-Seat-Safety.htm

[1] The following is information only and is not intended to constitute legal advice nor constitutes any type of attorney client relationship with the reader.

[2] Oklahoma House Bill 1847 amending 47 O.S. Supp 2011, Section 11-1112.

[3] See http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/child_passenger_safety/cps-factsheet.html and https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/aap-updates-recommendation-on-car-seats.aspx


Register Your Child's Car Seat

Car Seat Laws in Oklahoma

Even If You Got Rid of the Registration - It's Not Too Late

In 2011 more than 148,000 kids under 12 were hurt in car wrecks. [1] Car seats help reduce the risk, but how to you know if your car seat is safe? Check out these steps and keep your kids as safe as possible: [2]

  • In 2014 the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency reported five major car seat recalls effecting approximately 7.6 million car seats.[3]
  • By registering your car seat you will receive important notifications about the safety the seat.
  • Sometimes car seats fail to meet federal standards or standards change. Sometimes car seats are manufactured with a defect or they fail to contain a necessary warning or advisement. You can ensure your kids’ safety by registering your car seat.

Like most guys I see the instructions and other paperwork that come in the boxes I open as an affront to my masculinity- Isn’t that stuff just for the compost pile? However, we need to take a second look at those pieces of paper that come floating out, because they just may help us protect our kids from serious injuries.

Car seats will often come packed with a registration card. This card is more than just a way for the manufacturer to put you on their mailing list; it also gives them information to contact you in case there is a recall on the car seat. Car seat recalls can help you get a necessary adjustment to a seat that just may save the life of your son or daughter. Recalls also may give you necessary product information that may have been left out of the original instructions.

The federal government keeps a list of car seat recalls since 2005. To search the list you can go to http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/childseat.cfm.

If you, like me, tossed the registration card in the recycling bin when you got it, it isn’t too late to repent!

Go to http://www.safercar.gov/parents/CarSeats/Car-Seat-Recalls-Registration.htm and learn how to register your car seat now. You can also sign up for future email alerts about the car seats you currently use.

Stay safe!

[1] http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/child_passenger_safety/cps-factsheet.html

[2] The following is information only and is not intended to constitute legal advice nor constitutes any type of attorney client relationship with the reader.

[3] http://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/Safety1nNum3ers/may2015_2/S1N_May15_Recalls_Issue1.html


Been In A Wreck? Is The Booster Seat Still Safe?

Car Seat Laws in Oklahoma

When In Doubt, Switch It Out!

I’ve been in a wreck, is the car seat or booster seat still safe? 1

The National Highway Traffic Agency has pretty simple recommendations when it comes to replacing the car seat or booster seat, which has been in a wreck: 2

  • If the wreck is minor, the car seat is usable.
  • If the wreck is not minor, toss the car seat.

If you were in a car wreck and no one was injured, there was no air bag deployment, the impact occurred on a side of the vehicle away from the car seat and the car was able to be driven from the scene of the wreck, the car seat or booster seat is most likely safe for continued use.

The most important sign to look for is whether there is any damage to the seat itself.  If plastic is cracked or webbing is frayed it is time to switch out the car seat.

Remember, safety is your top concern when it comes to kids, so when in doubt switch it out.  Insurance companies will generally work with you to purchase new car seats.

Make sure not to sign any documents for the damage to the car until you have agreed on the fair market price of the damaged contents of the car, including any damaged car seats.

This also makes buying car seats and booster seats second hand a risky proposition.  If you are buying a car seat or booster seat from someone else, make sure you can trust the history of the seat.  Also, make sure to check the seat for any signs of damage.

Car seats reduce the risk of injury of infants less than one by 71%; they reduce the risk of injury to toddlers ages one to four by 54%. 3

So, when it comes to kids’ safety, make sure their car seat or booster seat is in good condition and do your part to help put lawyers like me out of business!

1 The following is information only and is not intended to constitute legal advice nor constitutes any type of attorney client relationship with the reader.

2 http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/childps/childrestraints/reuse/restraintreuse.htm

3 http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/child_passenger_safety/cps-factsheet.html