Ohio Buckles Buckeyes Program

The Ohio Buckles Buckeyes Program is a child passenger safety program of the state of Ohio that provides child safety seats and booster seats to low income families in Ohio. The goals of the program are to reduce the number of child traffic deaths, to increase the availability of child safety seats, to increase the use of child safety seats, and to increase the proper installation and use of seat belts.

Who is eligible for the Ohio Buckles Buckeyes program?

Those who are permanent residents of Ohio who have children that require a car seat are eligible. The families must meet WIC income guidelines but they do not need to be enrolled in the WIC program. Prior to receipt of a child safety seat families must attend a class provided by trained Child Passenger Safety staff.

What are the state requirements for Child Passenger Safety?

As of Oct. 7, 2009, Ohio’s child restraint law requires the following:

• Children less than 4 years old or 40 pounds must use a child safety seat.
• Children less than 8 years old, unless they are at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall must use a booster seat.
• Children ages 8-15 must use a child safety seat or safety belt.
• Children age 15 and older must wear a safety belt in the front seat
• A driver between the ages of 15 and 17 may not have more passengers than there are seatbelts

Fines will range from a minimum of $25 to a maximum of $75 per occurrence. Second offense fines have a maximum of $250 and jail time to 30 days. A booster seat can be purchased for as little as $15.

It is advised that a children to stay in car seats or boosters as long as possible, even beyond the requirements of state law.The OBB program is overseen by The Ohio Department of Health and is in all 88 counties.

Each county receives a set number of car seats at intervals throughout the year. These seats are distributed to children who are on WIC (Women Infants and Children) or who are WIC income eligible.

To receive a seat under the OBB program, the parent or guardian of the child must attend an educational session. Most counties ask for a small donation for the car seat.

Families can only receive one seat per child every three years under this program.

Frequently asked questions

Q: How do I sign up for a car seat?
A: Go to the Portsmouth City Health Department at 605 Washington Street, Portsmouth, to complete the Ohio Buckles Buckeyes application. Applicants are contacted in date order (when the application was received) to schedule a car seat class.
Q: How long is the class?
A: Approximately 30-40 minutes.
Q: Do I have to bring my child?
A: No, but it is best if you do, as we fit the child into their car seat.
Q: What if I do not need a car seat, but want to take the educational class?
A: We encourage anyone who wants to learn about car seats to sit in on a class