Texas Child Car Seat Laws
Anderson Injury Lawyers | November 9, 2022 | Texas Law
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of all car seats are misused. Statistically, that means your child has a high chance of being buckled improperly.
A 2020 study conducted by Go Safe Labs concluded that Texas is the most dangerous state for children to ride in motor vehicles. If you reside in Fort Worth or the surrounding area, it is essential to understand Texas child car seat laws to keep your child safe on the road.
Always Buckle Up
Texas Transportation Code § 545.413 mandates that anyone riding in or operating a motor vehicle must wear a seat belt at all times. Failure to adhere to this law can result in a fine ranging from $25 to $250. If you are an adult driver, you are responsible for ensuring all the children in your vehicle are properly restrained.
Children from Birth to 2 Years
Children from birth to 2 years of age must ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are over 2 years old, or until your child outgrows the height and weight requirements set by the rear-facing car seat’s manufacturer.
Children over 2 Years Old
Once your child has outgrown the rear-facing car seat requirements or surpassed the age of 2, they must be placed in a forward-facing child seat and secured with a harness. Always read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure everything is properly fastened.
Children 4 to 8 Years Old
When your child outgrows the height and weight limitations for a forward-facing car seat, it’s time for a seatbelt-compatible booster seat. You can use this booster seat until your child can fit snugly into the car’s seat without the need for a booster seat. This often happens by the time they reach 8 years of age.
Child Passenger Safety Laws
Texas law mandates that all children under 8 years old must be buckled into a child safety system when riding in a passenger vehicle. The only exception to this rule is if they are over 4’ 9”. Additionally, the car seat they are in must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Riding in the Front Seat
In Texas, there is no specification concerning where a child is required to ride. However, the law does specify that all child car seats must be used in adherence with the manufacturer’s instructions. To this extent, all rear-facing seats are prohibited from being placed in the front seat if there is a passenger airbag.
Pay close attention to the requirements of the seat you are using. They are not all the same, and some manufacturers may prohibit the use of their car seats in specific vehicle seating positions.
Err on the Side of Safety
If you are unsure, it is best to be cautious and install the car seat in the back seat. In the event of a collision, children have a smaller chance of incurring a passenger injury if they are in a securely fastened car seat installed in the vehicle’s back seat.
Choosing the appropriate car seat for your child’s age, weight, and height and ensuring that the car seat is properly installed according to manufacturer instructions and Texas law can help keep your child safe and protected on the road.
If your child has been injured in a car accident, contact an experienced attorney for help. Anderson Injury Lawyers offers free consultations.