The leading cause of death in children under 14 is not disease – it's motor vehicle accidents.  One of the best ways to help protect your child is to make sure they are properly restrained whenever they ride in a car or truck.

Children require their own restraint system such as a car seat. However, national surveys show that 75 percent of children riding in cars are not restrained 100 percent of the time, and even when they are, 85 percent of them are not restrained correctly.

Oregon Occupant Protection Laws effective January 1, 2012

Child Restraints

Child passengers must be restrained in approved child safety seats until they weigh 40 pounds or reach the upper weight limit for the car seat in use. Infants must ride rear facing until they reach both one year of age AND 20 pounds.

Booster Seats

Children over 40 pounds OR who have reached the upper weight limit of their car seat's harness system, must use a booster seat until they are 4'9" tall OR age 8.

Safety Belts

A child taller than 4'9" OR age 8 or older must be properly secured with the vehicle's safety belt. The child is properly secured if the lap belt is positioned low across the thighs and the shoulder belt is positioned over the collarbone and away from the neck.

Car Safety Guidelines

We recommend the following guidelines for keeping your child safe while in the car.

  • All passengers in the vehicle should be properly restrained.
  • Children should be in safety restraints appropriate for their size and age.
  • All children under the age of 13 should sit in the back seat, especially in a vehicle with a passenger side airbag.
  • When installing a child car seat, read the  manufacturer’s instructions for the seat and your car.
  • Make sure the car seat is secured properly. It should not move more than one inch in any direction.
  • Make sure the car seat’s harness straps are in the correct slots. They should be tight enough that an adult can fit only one finger under the strap at the collarbone.
  • Use the car seat’s harness clip, and use it correctly. The top of the clip should be level with the child’s armpits.
  • Have your car safety seat checked.
  • Don’t use a car seat after it has been in an accident. Buy a new one.
  • Never permit passengers to ride in the back of a pickup truck – it’s illegal.
  • Watch for recalls on car seats. Before you buy one, write down the exact name and model number and contact the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), 1-800-CARBELT, to make sure that it hasn’t been recalled. After you buy the car seat, complete and mail the warranty card so the manufacturer will be able to contact you if there is a recall.  If you have lost your warranty card please visit NHTSA to download a new registration form.
  • When buying a vehicle, make sure that it has lap-shoulder belts and head rests in the back seat.