Anderson Injury Lawyers | February 6, 2023 | Car Accidents
If you’ve got a tween, chances are they’re constantly asking you when they can start riding in the front seat. This milestone is an important one for any child, but how do you know when it’s the right time? When is it safe for your kid to start sitting in the front seat in Texas?
Although there are no laws governing when kids can sit up front in Texas, there are expert recommendations. Read on to learn more about when you can let your child start sitting in the front seat.
When Can Kids Stop Using a Car Seat?
Before we discuss when kids can start riding in the front seat, we need to talk about when they can stop using a car seat.
In Texas, children have to be in a car seat until they’re eight years old or until they’re taller than four feet nine inches. Children aren’t allowed to ride on your lap in a moving vehicle at any age.
Once a child is at least a year old and weighs twenty pounds, they are allowed to ride in a front-facing car seat. It’s best to keep them in a rear-facing seat until at least this point. Rear-facing seats are safer for your child if you were to get in a car accident.
There are two ways to determine when your child can safely sit in the front seat. The first is by age – most manufacturers and child safety experts recommend keeping your child in the back until they’re at least 13.
If a younger child is in the front seat, the airbags could cause serious injuries. Even if they’re tall enough to be in the front seat, their brains aren’t fully developed yet. A car crash and collision with the airbag could cause a concussion that leaves permanent brain damage.
By Height and Weight
In addition to being over 12 years old, children in Texas have to be at least 4’10” if they want to ride any the front seat. If they’re shorter than that, the airbag may collide with their face. Not only can this cause permanent facial damage, but it can also pose a serious threat to their life.
It’s also recommended that children weigh at least eighty pounds before being allowed to ride in the front seat.
Technically, there’s no Texas law that governs when children can ride in the front seat. But for the sake of your child’s safety, it’s best to keep them in the back seat until they meet all three of these criteria.
Penalties for Violating These Laws
While there are no laws on the books in Texas governing when your child can sit in the front seat, the state does have car seat laws. Violating these laws is a misdemeanor and could result in fines. You could wind up paying up to $200 if a child is riding in an unsafe car seat or not using a car seat when they should be.
Worse yet, putting your kids in the front seat too early puts them in danger.
Although none of us like to think about the possibility of a car accident, it happens to thousands of Texas residents every day. It’s important to protect your kids from the injuries they can sustain if they start riding in the front seat too early.
Keep Your Kids Safe in the Car
Getting to sit in the front seat is an important milestone for any child, but it’s important to wait until they’re old enough. Experts recommend waiting until a child is at least 13 and over four feet nine inches to let them ride in the front seat. It’s also a good idea to make sure they weigh at least eighty pounds before riding up front.
If your child is injured in a car accident, you need a personal injury lawyer to help you get the settlement you both deserve. Our lawyers will fight for your child as though they were our own and won’t stop until you get every penny you’re entitled to. Schedule a free consultation with us today to start getting justice for your child.