When obeying traffic and car seat laws, you are embarking on a more important mission than following legal matters.
If a car crash occurs, it can be a matter of life and death if you didn't follow the requirements.
Children are most exposed to severe injuries during the collision with their undeveloped immune system and fragile bodies.
This is why it is necessary to follow the car seat laws and learn how to properly restraint infants and toddlers during a ride.
Many aren't educated on the proper use and the types of restraint systems for their youngest ones. For this reason, we are going to cover the safety regulations and tips on getting the best out of a safety system.
Lack or the inefficient use of seat belts has been a significant issue in the U.S. From the reports in 2017, most victims were underage children with no seat belt or a restraint system.
About 35% of them were not properly restrained, and around 116,000 of them suffered severe injuries.
It is essential to take the numbers seriously and follow traffic laws to protect the youngest ones.
In this article, we will rank all of Texas car seat laws. It is up to you to read them and keep the passengers safe while riding through Texas.
Texas Car Seat Law
It is illegal in Texas to ride or operate a vehicle without a safety belt. The driver and the passengers need to follow the laws and be restraint at all times.
If they violate the law, the fine will cost $25 to $250, depending on court costs. Adult drivers are held responsible for minors not wearing a seat belt or using a restraint system.
The Texas Transportation Code requires children younger than eight years old to be in an appropriate child restraint system.
The fines for violating this law range from $25 to $250, with an added misdemeanor charge.
The law does not apply to hired vehicles such as taxis.
Rear-Faced Seat Law
The Texas Department of Public Safety declares that rear-face seats should be used as long as the child fits the criteria for it.
Usually, until the child turns one year old, he/she should ride in the rear-face car seat.
You should always check with the car seat manufacturer's instructions to ensure the child's weight, height, and age are appropriate for the chosen seat.
After the child has outgrown the rear-faced seat, they are now recommended to ride in a forward faced one.
They should keep using them for as long as the upper height or weight fits the harness limit.
The law also declares that you should never switch to forward-faces seats until the child meets the recommended criteria.
According to the TDPS, over four years old weighing more than 80 pounds can use booster seats as a restraint system.
Booster seats are installed in the back seat, with the excellent use of belt and shoulder lap.
You should know that when you purchase a booster seat, make sure it consists of these two belts. The two come together when it comes to boosters.
Ensure the lap belt goes over the top part of the thighs while the shoulder belt goes over the chest.
If those two are not properly aligned and it seems as though the child is too small for it, it's still not the right time for a booster.
To avoid these kinds of situations, check the manual for further instructions.
If this is your first time dealing with a booster, here is a helpful video.
As you can see, this is a video demonstration of installing a backless booster.
There are two models of booster seats you can choose from: a backless and the one with a headrest.
Backless boosters are the right choice for vehicles with the proper headrest, while full-back ones support the child's head, neck, and back.
Ensure you check what kind is right for your car and keep the child's back area fully protected.
Riding In The Front Seat
Their advice is to keep children younger than 13 years old in the back seat with the proper restraint systems.
Following the Texas Department of Public Safety Law, children can ride in the usual car seat when they turn 13 years old.
Is It Illegal To Leave Children Alone in The Car?
In Texas, it is illegal to leave a child unattended for more than 5 minutes.
Suppose a person intentionally leaves a child knowing that he/she is younger than seven years or not accompanied by an older guardian.
In that case, the violation will result in a Class C misdemeanor.
If there is child injury, the violation is treated as a felony, resulting in 6 months or two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Are Taxis Obliged To Follow The Car Seat Law?
As we stated earlier in the article, no, taxis are not obliged to follow the car seat law. Nevertheless, you are still obliged to bring your own.
If you search on Amazon, there are many budget-friendly, carry-on car seat options to choose from.
Should You Replace a Car Seat After a Crash?
Even though there is no law in Texas ordering you to do so, the NHTSA strongly advises you to replace it after an accident.
A car seat needs to be in order each time your child uses it. If it is damaged most slightly, the chances of inadequate protection are pretty height.
Adult Seat Belt
When the child surpasses the booster seat's criteria, it's time to secure them in a safety belt.
We mentioned it earlier, but as Texas does not state the seatbelts exact age, it would be best to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.
A safety belt needs to fit them properly.
Meaning, the lap belt lies across the thigh and not the stomach area, and the shoulder belt is across the shoulders and not under the arms or neck.
What If You Need Car Seat Help in Texas?
We got your back! Here are a few links if you ever need a car seat inspection or any other related issue in Texas:
The failure of adequately restraining children in transportation can lead to life-threatening situations everywhere, not just in Texas.
The statistics of injuries related to car crashes are getting high each year, and we can stop this.
The smartest way to keep everyone in the vehicle safe is to buckle up!
Remember always to check the Texas car seat laws beforehand and follow them as closely as possible.