337.26 CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM USAGE.
   (a)   When any child who is in either or both of the following categories is being transported in a motor vehicle, other than a taxicab or public safety vehicle as defined in Ohio R.C. 4511.01, that is required by the United States Department of Transportation to be equipped with seat belts at the time of manufacture or assembly, the operator of the motor vehicle shall have the child properly secured in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions in a child restraint system that meets federal motor safety standards:
      (1)   A child who is less than four years of age;
      (2)   A child who weighs less than forty pounds.
   (b)   When any child who is in either or both of the following categories is being transported in a motor vehicle, other than a taxicab, that is owned, leased or otherwise under the control of a nursery school, or day-care center, the operator of the motor vehicle shall have the child properly secured in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions in a child restraint system that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards:
      (1)   A child who is less than four years of age;
      (2)   A child who weighs less than forty pounds.
   (c)   When any child who is less than eight years of age and less than four feet nine inches in height, who is not required by subsection (a) or (b) of this section to be secured in a child restraint system, is being transported in a motor vehicle, other than a taxicab or public safety vehicle as defined in Ohio R.C. 4511.01 or a vehicle that is regulated under Ohio R.C. 5104.011, that is required by the United States Department of Transportation to be equipped with seat belts at the time of manufacture or assembly, the operator of the motor vehicle shall have the child properly secured in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions on a booster seat that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards.
   (d)   When any child who is at least eight years of age but not older that fifteen years of age and who is not otherwise required by subsection (a), (b) or (c) hereof to be secured in a child restraint system or booster seat, is being transported in a motor vehicle, other than a taxicab or public safety vehicle as defined in Ohio R.C. 4511.01, that is required by the United States Department of Transportation to be equipped with seat belts at the time of manufacture or assembly, the operator of the motor vehicle shall have the child properly restrained either in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions in a child restraint system that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards or in an occupant restraining device as defined in Ohio R.C. 4513.263.
   (e)   Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no law enforcement officer shall cause an operator of a motor vehicle being operated on any street or highway to stop the motor vehicle for the sole purpose of determining whether a violation of subsection (c) or (d) of this section has been or is being committed or for the sole purpose of issuing a ticket, citation, or summons for a violation of subsection (c) or (d) of this section or causing the arrest of or commencing a prosecution of a person for a violation of subsection (c) or (d) of this section, and absent another violation of law, a law enforcement officer’s view of the interior or visual inspection of a motor vehicle being operated on any street or highway may not be used for the purpose of determining whether a violation of subsection (c) or (d) of this section has been or is being committed.
   (f)   The Ohio Director of Public Safety shall adopt such rules as are necessary to carry out this section.
   (g)   The failure of an operator of a motor vehicle to secure a child in a child restraint system, a booster seat or an occupant restraining device as required by this section is not negligence imputable to the child, is not admissible as evidence in any civil action involving the rights of the child against any other person allegedly liable for injuries to the child, is not to be used as a basis for a criminal prosecution of the operator of the motor vehicle other than a prosecution for a violation of this section, and is not admissible as evidence in any criminal action involving the operator of the motor vehicle other than a prosecution for a violation of this section.
   (h)   This section does not apply when an emergency exists that threatens the life of any person operating or occupying a motor vehicle that is being used to transport a child who otherwise would be required to be restrained under this section.  This section does not apply to a person operating a motor vehicle who has an affidavit signed by a physician licensed to practice in this State under Ohio R.C. Chapter 4731 or a chiropractor licensed to practice in this State under Ohio R.C. Chapter 4734 that states that the child who otherwise would be required to be restrained under this section has a physical impairment that makes use of a child restraint system, booster seat or an occupant restraining device impossible or impractical, provided that the person operating the vehicle has safely and appropriately restrained the child in accordance with any recommendations of the physician or chiropractor as noted on the affidavit.
   (i)   Nothing in this section shall be construed to require any person to carry with the person the birth certificate of a child to prove the age of the child, but the production of a valid birth certificate for a child showing that the child was not of an age to which this section applies is a defense against any ticket, citation or summons issued for violating this section.
   (j)   Whoever violates subsection (a), (b), (c) or (d) of this section shall be punished as follows, provided that the failure of an operator of a motor vehicle to secure more than one child in a child restraint system, booster seat, or occupant restraining device as required by this section that occurred at the same time, on the same day, and at the same location is deemed to be a single violation of this section:
      (1)   Except as otherwise provided in subsection (j)(2) of this section, the offender is guilty of a minor misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) nor more than seventy-five dollars ($75.00).
      (2)   If the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a violation of subsection (a), (b), (c) or (d) of this section or of a state law or municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any of those subsections, the offender is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
         (ORC 4511.81)