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Understanding Texas Child Seat Laws

Car accidents can happen at any time. You can increase your chances of minimizing injuries to family members by following the standards established in Texas child seat laws.

Texas child seat laws contain safety seat guidelines based on the age, height, and weight of the child. These laws ensure that even if an accident occurs, the child will have increased protection from collisions. The Texas child seat laws have regulations in regards to children of different age groups. These laws apply to children from newborns up to 8 years of age and children under the height of 4’9″ tall. Children who are over this age and height limit can use the lap and shoulder belts included in a car. They should also continue to sit in the back seat up until they are 13 years of age or older.

Rear-Facing Seat for Newborn to Two Years

rear-facing-child-seatAny child who is two years of age or younger should always be placed into a rear-facing car seat system that is positioned in the back seat of the passenger vehicle. The car seat should be securely strapped into the vehicle by following the child seat manufacturer’s instructions. There should be instructions included with every seat as well as labels fastened onto the child seat that give additional safety and buckling guidelines.

Keep in mind that the child can stay in the child seat up until they reach the maximum weight of the child harness system. The harness should fit snugly without pinching the skin and with the chest clip secured under the armpits.

Forward-Facing Seat for Two Years Up to Four Years

forward-facing-car-seatOnce a child reaches the age of two, they can be placed in a forward-facing child seat. Texas child safety seat guidelines still recommends that all child seats should still be placed in the back seat. The child can stay in the car seat system up to the recommended maximum weight and height limits.

For forward-facing seats, you have the choice of using either the seat belt or the lower anchors to hold the seat in place, which is called the LATCH system. Yet you can’t use both at once. Many parents feel that using both the seatbelt and the LATCH system increase the effectiveness of the car seat for the child, but this is not true.  Only use one or the other.  If your car has a latch anchor designed for tether straps, it is recommended to use the tether strap for added stability.

Booster Seat for Four Years up to Eight Years

booster-seatBy this time, your child may be at the weight and height limit where they can no longer safely fit into a forward-facing seat. A booster seat may now be used for children who are four years old up to eight years old.

The booster seat should be used with both the lap belt and the shoulder belt placed in the proper position. The shoulder belt should always angle across the chest area and never on the neck. A backless booster seat can be used only when the child’s head will not go over the vehicle’s seat back. You will need to use a booster seat with a back if there is no head protection on the seat.

Additional Texas Child Safety Seats Laws

Texas laws require that all manufacturer’s instructions for child safety seat systems be followed when transporting children in passenger vehicles. The only passenger vehicles exempt from this law are limousines, taxi cabs, public transit buses, and hired shuttles. Other passenger vehicles that are exempt include vehicles that are already equipped with safety seat systems.

All manufacturers do not recommend that child safety seats NOT be installed in rear facing or side facing seats. While there is no specific Texas law forbidding this seat placement, state regulations do require you to follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Also be aware that safety seats expire after 6 years from the date when they are manufactured. Most manufacturers will place the expiration date on a label on the child safety seat. If you have been in a moderate to serious accident, most manufacturers recommend that the seat be destroyed in case its integrity has been compromised.

What to Do If Your Child Has Been Injured in a Car Seat

The scariest moment in a car accident is to have your child injured. Yet the injuries may have been caused due to the child seat being defective. Car seat recalls have been numerous, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a child seat recall campaign list.

If your child has been injured in a child seat system and you believe that it was caused by a defect in the car seat that has not been included in the recall list, then you should seek gain legal help. You may be entitled to eligible for able to gain compensation for injuries if the damages were a direct result of product liability issues and you had followed all manufacturer instructions in securing your child in the safety seat system. You may also be able to gain compensation if a caregiver was negligent in securing your child in a passenger vehicle.

Contact The Cagle Law Firm. We are injury attorneys who are helping parents and children. Call us today for a FREE consultation so we can help you and your family.

Related Resources

The Cagle Law Firm, P.C., provides individuals injured through someone else’s negligence personally tailored legal services. Learn about your legal rights and resources below. Call (888) 353-3619 for a free consultation.