Ohio Child Seatbelt Laws Explained
If you want to make sure your children are safe while traveling, you should comply with the Ohio child seatbelt laws.
Knowing the laws will also help you avoid getting a seatbelt citation, acquiring points on your DMV record, having your insurance rates increased, and going to court. If you’ve already gotten a ticket, this article will show you how to overturn it.
Under the Ohio child seatbelt law, all children in a vehicle must be properly secured in a restraint system or buckled up. What makes a proper child restraint system? It depends on the child’s age, height, and weight. Check out the following table for details:
|Infants and toddlers||Any child under the age of four and under 40 pounds must be strapped in a rear-facing safety seat until they outgrow it|
|Children between four and eight||All children between the ages of four and eight not taller than four foot nine must be secured in a booster seat until they grow out of it. The booster seat can be placed in a front-facing position|
|Kids and teenagers between eight and 15||Children who are eight years old or older and have outgrown the booster seat must use adult seatbelts|
The Ohio child seatbelt law doesn’t specify how old your child should be to sit in the front seat.
Ohio is a mix of primary and secondary enforcement—a police officer may pull you over if they believe you’re driving an improperly restrained child who is younger than four. In any other case, an officer has to pull you over for a different traffic offense and then issue a seatbelt citation.
There are a few exceptions to the child seatbelt law in Ohio. The law doesn’t apply to:
- Children transported in a bus, a taxi, or an emergency vehicle
- Drivers who have an emergency that prevents them from properly restraining their child
- Children who have a medical condition that makes it impossible or impractical for them to be restrained—the parent, caretaker, or legal guardian must have a doctor’s note proving the medical condition
If you fail to properly secure your kids in a vehicle, you can get points on your license, even though not wearing a seatbelt isn’t a moving violation. For each violation of the Ohio child seatbelt law, you’ll get two points. If you receive 12 or more points within two years, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will issue a notice for your suspension.
If you get a ticket for not properly restraining your child in Ohio, you can expect to pay anywhere between $25 and $75 (if you repeat the violation). Not paying the ticket may have severe consequences, such as:
- Getting your fines doubled
- Piling up penalties
- Having your driver’s license suspended
- Losing your vehicle
- Getting a warrant for failing to appear at the hearing
If the seatbelt ticket cost is too much for you, you have the option to contest it. There are two ways you can appeal your ticket:
- Showing reasonable doubt—If you decide to go with reasonable doubt, you’re implying that the child passenger was properly restrained and that the law enforcement officer issued a ticket unfairly. Keep in mind that, in this case, you’ll need strong evidence to support your claim
- Taking a due diligence defense—Due diligence defense implies that there’s a reasonable explanation for why your child wasn’t restrained, such as:
- Your child had a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a seatbelt or being properly restrained
- The kid had removed the seatbelt, and you were looking for a proper spot to stop the vehicle and put it back on
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