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What kind of car or booster seat does your child need?

Parents will go to great lengths to keep their children safe. This is particularly true when parents need to drive their children somewhere. Not many parents these days would dream of putting their child into a car without a proper car seat, booster seat or seat belt.

However, standards for child safety in vehicles are constantly changing. While that isn't a bad thing, when you consider that it's all about keeping kids protected, it can be difficult for parents to keep up. If you're unsure of what the updated car seat laws in Oregon entail, here's what you need to know.

When should I use a car seat?

Children who weigh less than 40 pounds need to sit in a rear or front-facing car seat. If you have a certain car seat for a specific weight category, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions. Use a rear-facing car seat until the child is two years old. Once your child is older than two, he or she needs to ride in a front-facing seat in accordance with other safety guidelines.

What about booster seats?

Once your child weighs more than 40 pounds, he or she is ready for a booster seat. Oregon law says that children have to use a car or booster seat until they turn eight years old or grow taller than four feet nine inches. After he or she meets the height or age requirements, then and only then can he or she use the car's seat belts that adults use.

What if the child is not properly restrained?

Whether you are a parent, caregiver or family friend of a child riding in your vehicle, the law requires you to ensure that any child riding with you is properly restrained. Not following proper guidelines can result in a traffic violation and subsequent fine.

Interestingly, there is no actual law in Oregon that says children cannot ride in the front seat of a vehicle, unless he or she is using a rear-facing car seat. However, most experts and states recommend that kids ride in the backseat of a car until they reach the age of 12.

I need help installing my car or booster seat!

Many local fire departments and children's hospitals can help parents learn how to properly install their child safety restraints. There are also community events where parents can get more information. No matter what, be certain that you follow all instructions given by the seat manufacturer.

All of these precautions are important for keeping kids safe. Unfortunately, that doesn't guarantee that you and your children won't be the victims of a car accident. Knowing your available legal options is the first step in holding those responsible accountable for their actions.

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