Parents always have a lot on their minds, and their children’s safety is at the top of the list. Most parents take it for granted that by following current child safety seat laws, they are doing their best to protect their kids in case of a crash. However, researchers and lawmakers across the U.S. are always evaluating new accident data to assess whether these safety seat laws should be updated. (In fact, Washington State recently settled on new regulations that would require children to remain in booster seats until almost middle school age!)
In Texas, lawmakers are also considering a change to car seat laws, with the goal of making the laws more specific about what types of seats children should be in. Currently, the law requires children younger than 8 to be in a car seat. However, it does not govern the positioning of the child. The proposed new law would require children to be secured in rear-facing car seats until they are 2 years old unless the child reaches 40 inches and 40 pounds.
"Keeping Texas children safe should always be our top priority,” State Rep. Chris Turner said in a report on KXAN. “By updating our outdated child car seat laws, we will better protect the youngest Texans and ultimately save lives.”
Current Texas Child Seat Recommendations
The Texas Department of Public Safety recommends the national best practices for safety measures parents should take to protect children when riding in cars:
Phase 1: Children should remain in a rear-facing infant or rear-facing convertible safety seats secured in a backseat as long as possible until they reach the height or weight limit of the child seats.
Phase 2: Children who have outgrown rear-facing seats should ride in forward-facing seats. They should stay in these safety seats as long as possible until they reach the upper height or weight limit of the harnesses.
Phase 3: Children who are age 4 and older and 40 pounds or more should move to a booster seat with a seatbelt when they outgrow a forward-facing child seat. A child’s behavior and maturity level should also be taken into account when switching from a forward-facing seat to a booster seat.
Phase 4: Children who have outgrown a booster seat should use an adult safety belt. All children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat.
Need a New Car Seat?
For parents who are in the market for a new child seat, Target is hosting a car seat trade-in special until May 4. The retail giant is asking customers to bring unwanted car seats to stores in exchange for a 20 percent off coupon that can be used toward the purchase of a new car seat, booster seat, or stroller.
A Commitment to Child Safety on the Road
At The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian, we are committed to keeping Houston residents safe on the roads, and this means educating parents about child safety news. If you or someone in your family has been in a car accident, we are also here to educate you about your rights and explain your next steps. Please feel free to call us anytime at (713) 842-9492 for compassionate legal advice.