If you are a parent, you probably prioritize your kids’ safety. Our attorneys explain what the state laws say about car safety for children and provide tips to help you stay compliant.
What Do Texas Laws Say About Child Passenger Safety?
In Texas, car accident injuries are among the top causes of severe and fatal injuries to children. Therefore, Texas laws require parents and caretakers to observe and comply with safety measures for children riding in passenger vehicles.
Children younger than eight must use a child safety seat system when riding in a passenger vehicle. In other words, if a child has not yet reached their 8th birthday, they should be riding with an appropriate car seat or booster seat as the adult lap belt does not fit them properly and could cause injuries.
Is It Illegal for Children to Ride in the Front Seat?
In Texas, children are required to ride in a safety seat system that is installed and used following manufacturer instructions. While the law does not explicitly address whether children can be in the front seat, car seat manufacturers always recommend the child seat be installed in the vehicle’s back seat.
No rear-facing child seats should be used in the front seat due to the child’s risk of injury if the airbag system deploys during a crash. Young children should ride in the back seat – doing so reduces the chances of a fatal injury in a car crash.
When Can My Child Stop Using a Booster Seat and Only Use a Seat Belt?
Once your child turns eight years old or reaches the height of 4’9″ or taller, it is generally safe for the child to use an adult lap belt. However, researchers and doctors recommend keeping children adequately restrained in the back seat until the age of 12.
If you are unsure whether your child needs a safety seat, consider consulting with your child’s pediatrician. In addition, many local fire departments offer free car seat checks for parents. Parents who fail to properly restrain their child while riding in a car may have to pay a fine of up to $250.00.
Do Car Seats Need Replacing After a Crash?
Most manufacturers require car seats replaced after a moderate to severe crash. If you or your child were hurt in an accident and need legal help, the Oberg Law Office is here to help. Call us at 972-640-9147.