An automobile accident can have a far greater impact on a child’s small body than on the body of an adult. Even the safety features — such as air bags and seat belts — intended to protect adults can cause substantial harm to children during a car crash. For this reason, parents and caregivers are required to buckle up kids in a special apparatus and under strict rules.

Under Ohio’s child restraint laws, you must secure any child who is a passenger in your car in the following manner:

  • Child safety seat — if the child is younger than 4-years-old or less than 40 pounds
  • Booster seat — if the child is younger than 8-years-old, unless she or he is at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall
  • Safety belt — if the child is between the ages of 8 to 15

Failure to place your child in the proper restraining device can result in a traffic citation. But even worse, it can result in serious injuries to your child if you are involved in a motor vehicle wreck. In fact, the Ohio Department of Health reports that, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), half of the children killed in car wrecks every year would be alive today if auto restraints had been properly used 100 percent of the time.

Properly installing your child’s restraint system can feel like piecing together the most complex puzzle. With the stakes so high, you cannot afford to make a mistake. Fortunately, several programs are available in communities throughout Ohio to help you install your child’s seat correctly — such as the free program run by the Cleveland Clinic.