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Baby in car seat facing backwards back seatChild Passenger Safety

Child Safety Seats Save Lives!

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reported that 35 children in Oklahoma 14 years of age and younger were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2009 – 10 of those 35 children were not restrained.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), child safety seats decrease the risk of child death in car crashes by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers.

Unfortunately, 3 out of 4 child safety seats are used incorrectly.

Oklahoma's New Child Passenger Safety Law

The OSDH recommends that parents and caregivers ensure their child’s restraint system meets the following criteria to be in compliance with the new child passenger safety law before it goes into effect November 1, 2015:

  • All children under age 4 must be properly secured in a car seat with an internal harness.
    • A 5-point harness is the safest restraint system and should be used as long as possible (until the child exceeds the harness’ weight limit).
  • Children under age 2 must be properly secured in a rear-facing car seat.
    • Rear-facing is the safest way for small children to travel, and they should remain rear-facing until they reach 2 years of age or until they exceed the height or weight limit of the car seat.
    • Riding rear-facing with legs bent or against the back of the seat is a safe and comfortable position for children. This position best protects their head, neck and spinal cord in the event of a crash.
  • Children ages 4-7 must ride in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat unless they are taller than 4’9”.

Children taller than 4’9” or over age 7 should always be restrained in a seat belt. Riding in the back seat of the vehicle is the safest way for children to travel.

Child Passenger Safety Program

There are many child safety seats on the market and many more types of vehicles. Finding the right safety seat for your child and ensuring that it is properly installed in your vehicle can be overwhelming!

Since 2001, the Injury Prevention Service, Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, and Safe Kids Oklahoma have worked together to implement a car/booster seat program statewide through county health departments. Families may contact a county health department to schedule an appointment to have any car or booster seat checked to determine if it is properly installed. Eligible families may receive car/booster seats. 

Child passenger safety (CPS) staff instruct each family on how to properly secure a car or booster seat in their vehicle. Every family receiving a car or booster seat watches a child passenger safety video and is given additional information about car/booster seat use. Family members are encouraged to participate in the installation process.

Get more information on Child Passenger Safety and finding the right safety seat for your child. Get Child Passenger Safety information in Spanish.

Learn about common child safety seat misuse and installation errors. Get safety seat installation error information in Spanish.

Safety Seat Check Sites

There are trained child passenger safety staff located at agencies/organizations statewide that conduct child safety seat checks on a regular basis (free of charge). Some of these agencies/organizations also provide a limited number of car and/or booster seats at discounted prices or at no cost to eligible families. 

Child Passenger Safety Week

Links to Other Child Passenger Safety Resources

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