Auto accidents are one of the nation’s leading causes of death for children. Reports from the CDC and NHTSA show that many of these deaths happen because adults have not made sure the child was properly restrained.
For young children, car seats and booster seats are a key part of effective safety restraint systems. These devices are proven to protect children and reduce the severity of harm they might suffer in motor vehicle accidents. That’s why Texas has a law requiring children to be in car/booster seats until they reach a certain age.
What Is Texas Law on Car Seats and Booster Seats?
Under Texas law, all children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat whenever they ride in a vehicle. The one exception is based on the child’s height: If a child is under 8 years old but taller than 4′ 9″, that child can use the adult safety belt and isn’t required to be in a car/booster seat.
Once a child reaches the age of 8, it’s legal for them to ride with only the adult safety belt, even if the child is under 4′ 9″.
Additional Child Safety Guidelines on Car and Booster Seats
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) offers these guidelines for car seat and booster seat use, based on the child’s age:
- From birth to two years old: Children should be in a rear-facing car seat until age two, or until they reach the car seat’s height or weight limit.
- Two to four years old: Children can ride in forward-facing car seats when they reach two years old or they outgrow the rear-facing car seat. They should continue to ride in forward-facing car seats until they reach the seat’s height or weight limit, even if they’re more than four years old.
- Four to eight years old: Once a child outgrows the forward-facing car seat, they should switch to a booster seat. They must use a booster seat until they’re eight years old, at which point they can legally use the adult seatbelt.
While it’s legal for a child to get out of the booster seat at age eight, it’s recommended that they continue using the booster seat, regardless of age, until they reach 4′ 9″ in height.
Fines for Violating the Car Seat/Booster Seat Law
Drivers can be fined for traveling with children who are not properly secured in a car seat or booster seat. The fines range from $25 to $250, depending on the circumstances.
Justice for Children Injured in Auto Accidents
If you’ve lost a child or your child has been injured in a wreck in Texas, you may be entitled to compensation. Reach out to the attorneys of Ted B. Lyon & Associates in Dallas for help. Schedule a free consultation by calling 877-Ted-Lyon / 877-833-5966 or contact us online today.