What are Texas Car Seat Laws?

July 28, 2021 | Uncategorized

Car seats can prevent children from sustaining serious injuries and fatalities. Our attorneys that focus on car accidents in Austin have found that every state in the country requires children to be properly seated in a car seat or booster seat until they reach a certain age or weight and height. Here, we want to dig into what Texas law says about requiring children to sit in car seats. This is incredibly important because if a child is not properly restrained, the consequences could be severe.

When a car crash occurs, a child could sustain severe injuries. Additionally, Texas does impose fines on adults who do not properly restrain children in vehicles.

What Does the Law Say?

Texas law requires that any child under the age of eight years old be secured in a child safety seat whenever they are in a vehicle. The exception to this is if the child is taller than 4 feet 9 inches. Older children who have outgrown a traditional car seat and booster seat must be buckled with a seat belt.

What are the Penalties & Dangers of Not Using a Car Seat in Texas?

We first need to examine the financial penalty for not properly restraining a child in a car safety seat or a seat belt. Texas law stipulates that the failure to restrain a child can result in a ticket up to $250. Even though this may be a hefty fine, this is actually the least severe consequence associated with not using a child safety seat in Texas.

There are other consequences of not using a child safety seat that are much more severe. When accidents occur in the child is not inside of an appropriate restraint system, it is not uncommon for them to sustain severe injuries, including the following:

Common Car Seat Mistakes

There is a range of mistakes that adults make when it comes to car seats. This includes the following:

  • Failing to install the car seat properly according to manufacturers instructions
  • Turning the car seat around too soon, so it is facing forward
  • Not fastening the top tether of the car seat
  • Leaving the car seat shoulder harness is too loose
  • Dressing children in bulky clothing that impacts the restraint system
  • Not checking to see if their child has outgrown the car seat
  • Not checking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website for car seat recalls

How Can Car Seats Keep Children Safe?

The reality is that car seats save lives. There is a reason that every state in the country has implemented some sort of requirement for children to be seated in appropriate safety seats. Younger children face a much higher risk of sustaining severe injuries in accidents, particularly because their bodies are not properly suited for the adult restraint systems built into the vehicle.

The CDC estimates that between 1975 and 2012, child restraint systems saved more than 10,000 lives of children aged 0 to 4. According to the CDC, car seats reduce the risk of death in infants and toddlers by 54%. Booster seats reduce the risk of serious injury by 45% for children aged 4 to 8.