Is your child’s car seat safe? According to a survey conducted by Safe Kids USA, 96% of parents believe that they use their car seats correctly. However, research has shown that 73% of car seats are misused. Some of the most common misuse issues involve incorrect installation in the vehicle and improper car seat selection based on the child’s age, weight, and height.
Certified car seat technicians are available at the Union County Health Department to answer questions, check that car seats are properly installed, and assist with new installation. The Union County Health Department also participates in the Ohio Buckles Buckeyes (OBB) program sponsored by the Ohio Department of Health. The local OBB program distributes free car seats to low income families in Union County. For more information about our installation and distribution services, please see the Car Seat Installation Program or Car Seat Distribution Program sections.
Ohio’s Child Restraint Law
All Ohio children must be properly restrained every time they are in a vehicle. They must meet the following requirements until they are 15 years of age:
- Every child who is less than 8 years of age or 4’9” tall must ride in a car seat or booster seat.
- Every child who is 8 years to 15 years of age must be properly restrained with a seatbelt.
Always review your car seat instruction manual and your vehicle instruction manual before installing your car seat.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following in regards to car seat use:
Type of Seat to Use: Infant-only seat, Rear-facing convertible seat
Guidelines: Infants should ride rear-facing until they are at least 2 years of age or as long as their car seat allows.
Type of Seat to Use: Rear-facing convertible seat, Forward-facing convertible seat, Combination seat
Guidelines: Children should ride rear-facing until they are at least 2 years of age or as long as their car seat allows. Many car seats allow rear-facing use until 35 lbs. After your child reaches the rear-facing weight limit, they should be moved to a forward-facing seat with an internal harness. Many of these forward-facing seats witn an internal harness can accommodate children until 40-65 lbs. Please see your car seat instruction manual for more information.
Type of Seat to Use: Booster seat
Guidelines: Children should ride in a booster seat until they are 8 years of age or 4’9″ tall. To determine if your child is ready to move out of a booster seat, take the 5 Step Booster Seat Test.
Type of Restraint to Use: Seatbelt
Guidelines: Children should ride in the backseat with a lap and shoulder seatbelt until they are 13 years of age.
Car Seat Recalls
Car seats are sometimes found to be unsafe and recalled by the manufacturer. Visit safercar.gov for a current list of recalled car seats.
Car seats also come with expiration dates. Generally car seats can be used for 6 to 8 years from their date of manufacture. Look for a sticker or imprinted date on the back of the car seat to determine if the seat is still safe to use. If the seat has expired, replace the car seat immediately.
Car Seat Installation Program
The Union County Health Department offers free car seat check appointments to assist with proper fitting and installation. Appointments take approximately 30 minutes per car seat. If possible, please bring the car seat instruction manual and the vehicle owners manual to the appointment.
To schedule a car seat check appointment with a certified technician, please call the Union County Health Department at 937-642-2053.
Car Seat Distribution Program
The Union County Health Department participates in the Ohio Buckles Buckeyes program sponsored by the Ohio Department of Health. This statewide program provides free car seats to qualifying, low income families. To qualify for a free car seat, the following requirements must be met:
- Child must be eligible for the Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC) or have a Medicaid or Medicare card.
- Child must not have previously received a free car seat from the Union County Health Department.
If your child qualifies for a free car seat, please call the Union County Health Department at 937-642-2053 to schedule an appointment with a certified technician.