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Car Seat Safety - Child Passengers

Child Passenger Safety Program

Child passenger safety is the means and practice of preventing injury and death of children in the event of a motor vehicle crash. Both nationally and in Oklahoma, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children. Proper child restraint use decreases the risk of death by 71% for infants younger than one year old and 54% for toddlers 1-4 years old. Approximately one out of two child safety seats are used incorrectly. For many parents, providing proper child restraint systems for their children is difficult due to financial hardship.

Approximately one out of two child safety seats are used incorrectly.

Since 2001, the Injury Prevention Service, Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, and Safe Kids Oklahoma have worked together to implement a car/booster seat program through county health departments. There are certified child passenger safety technicians located statewide. Families may contact a county health department to schedule an appointment to have any car seat or booster seat checked free of charge to determine if it is properly installed. A limited number of car seats and booster seats are also available at no cost to families eligible for WIC benefits or who receive other government assistance such as Medicaid, SNAP or TANF. Contact the Injury Prevention Service or your local county health department to make an appointment.

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The Injury Prevention Service recommends that parents and caregivers ensure their child’s restraint system meets the following criteria to be in compliance with Oklahoma's child passenger safety law:

  • Children under age 2 must be properly secured in a rear-facing car seat.
    • Why you should keep your toddler rear-facing until 2 years old (YouTube Video)
    • 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.
  • 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 8 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.


Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Injury Prevention Service
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave. Suite 1702
Oklahoma City, OK 73102-6406

Physical Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Injury Prevention Service
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK

Telephone: (405) 426-8440
Fax: (405) 900-7588
Email: injury@health.ok.gov