Anderson Injury Lawyers | September 28, 2023 | Car Accidents
As a child grows and develops, there are milestones and events that help mark the transition from infancy to childhood and then from early childhood to young adulthood. One of these milestones occurs when a child no longer needs to be in the rear seat and can sit in the front seat.
When children transition from being back-seat passengers to front-seat passengers depends on their age, height, and weight. Texas’s child safety laws are not as robust as some other state’s laws, so there is no statute that stipulates when the transition from the back seat to the front seat can occur.
Instead, it is incumbent on parents to not only know Texas child safety seat laws but also car seat safety recommendations to know when their child can safely and legally ride up front.
What Texas’s Law Requires of Parents
For all children under the age of 17, Texas law requires that they either wear a seat belt or be placed in a child safety seat. If a child is under eight years of age, they must be restrained in a child safety seat unless they are over four feet nine inches tall. If your child is too big for a car safety seat, you are expected to place them in a booster seat until they outgrow it.
However, Texas law does not state when you can place your child in the front seat of your car. To know when it is safe to make the move, you should consider your child’s age and height.
Children Under the Age of 13 Years
If your child is under the age of 13 years, they should ride in the rear of your car. This applies whether your child uses a car safety seat, a booster seat, or does not need a seat. Riding in the rear seat of your vehicle offers your child the greatest amount of protection in the event of a car accident.
Newborns and very young children who need a rear-facing car safety seat should never ride in the front passenger seat, especially if your car has a front passenger airbag. The force of an airbag deployment can cause tremendous injuries or death to your child even if they are otherwise properly restrained in their car seat.
Children 13 Years Old and Older
Just because your child turns 13 years old, they shouldn’t automatically move to the front of your car. Just as the law does not require them to sit in the back seat of your car until they are 13, the law does not mandate that you put them in the front once they are over 13 years old.
Instead, consider moving your child to the front seat only when your child is big enough that a seat belt fits them properly over the shoulder and the waist. That’s the best way to ensure they are protected on the road.
Contact a Dallas Car Accident Lawyer If You or a Loved One Are Injured
Following the law and safety recommendations can only go so far in protecting you on the road. Negligent drivers can cause serious injuries to you and your child, and these drivers deserve to be held accountable. A Dallas car accident attorney can help you achieve justice in your case and recover the compensation you need to restore your family’s livelihood.