Oregon’s Child Restraint and Seatbelt Laws

Oregon’s child safety seat and seatbelt requirements and the penalties for a violation.

In Oregon, child safety seat and seatbelt requirements for children vary depending on the age, weight, and height of the child. The law also includes exceptions for certain types of vehicles and circumstances.

This article discusses the law requiring child restraints and seatbelts for children and the penalties for a violation.

Child Car Seat Laws for Children Under 16 Years Old

Oregon law requires children under eight years old and weighing 40 pounds or less to be secured in a child safety seat.

All children under two years old must be secured in a rear-facing child seat. Oregon does not specifically require that children be placed in the back seat of vehicles. However, “proper use” of a child safety seat prohibits installing a rear-facing car seat in front of an airbag.

Children who weigh over 40 pounds and are four feet nine inches or shorter are generally required to use a booster seat until age eight. The booster seat must elevate the child so that the adult safety belt properly fits. This means the lap belt must be positioned low across the thighs and the shoulder belt positioned over the collarbone and away from the neck of the child. However, use of a shoulder belt is not required if the rear seat of the vehicle is equipped only with lap belts.

A booster seat is not required if the child is properly secured in a car seat designed for children weighing more than 40 pounds.

When operating a motor vehicle on a highway, a driver with a passenger who is less than 16 years old is responsible for ensuring the child is secured in a child safety system, safety belt, or safety harness.

Exceptions

There are many exceptions to Oregon’s safety belt requirements, but only a few apply to children. A child safety system, safety belt, or safety harness is not required if:

  • the vehicle wasn’t required to be equipped with seatbelts at the time it was manufactured
  • all seating positions in the vehicle are occupied by other passengers, or
  • the vehicle is not required to be equipped with seatbelts upon sale.

Another exception is when the use of a child safety system, safety belt, or safety harness would be impractical or harmful to the child because of a “physical condition, medical problem, or body size.” For this exception to apply, a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant must present a signed statement to the Department of Transportation. The department will then issue a certificate of exemption to the person.

Penalties

Failure to properly use safety belts is a class D traffic violation. The presumptive fine is $115. The maximum fine is $250 and the minimum fine is $65.

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