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As a concerned parent, you're prepared to go to the ends of the Earth to keep your child safe and protected. And whether you have a newborn or a toddler, helping them experience the world around them involves taking important safety precautions. Familiarizing yourself with Texas car seat laws will help you make the right choices when it comes to keeping your child safe and secure on the road.

What You Should Know

In the state of Texas, car seat laws are very specific and written to protect the welfare of children. Currently, every child under the age of 8 or less than 4'9” must be restrained with the appropriate car or booster seat. That means if your child is 7 and 5'2”, they are not required by law to use a child seat safety system. All booster seats, infant seats and car seats must be installed and used per manufacturer's instructions. That means you cannot use a rear facing seat forward facing, place a car seat in the front seat of your vehicle or exceed the weight or height limitation of a car seat system.

Weight, height and other considerations are part of manufacturer's instructions and you will be endangering the safety of your child if you do not follow them. The first time you receive a citation for violating Texas car seat law, you will be fined $25. A second offense is considerably higher and can be as much as $250.

Age and Weight Guidelines

• Newborns and Infants (Up to 35 Pounds)
Rear facing car seats are best. Depending on the specific weight restrictions on the actual car seat, it may be possible to move to another style before reaching 35 pounds.

• Babies and Toddlers (Over 22 Pounds)
For children who have outgrown rear facing seats, forward facing models are safe. However, there are strict weight requirements and it is never a good idea to put a baby under 22 pounds or less than a year old in a front facing seat.

• Age 4 and Older (Over 40 Pounds)
Booster seats are appropriate for children age 4 or older or who are 40 pounds or more. The lap and shoulder belt installed in the car must accompany a booster seat.

• Age 8 and Older OR (Over 4'9”)
Once your child has reached 8 years old or is 4'9” tall, he or she may use the car's seat belt restraints. Make sure the belts are in working condition and the harness extends across the lap and shoulder.

Best Practices For Safety

Safety on the road is an important issue, particularly for parents. Take proactive steps to ensure your driving experience is the safest it can be for yourself and your loved ones. Look for vehicles with safety features built in like airbags or anti-lock brakes. Always follow the rules of the road accordingly and never exceed the speed limits. Remember, maintaining a stellar driving record not only keeps you child safe, but will significantly lower your Texas car insurance premium. Fewer speeding tickets, less accidents and a better record may decrease your rate. Stay informed with the latest updates or changes to car seat laws and make certain to check periodically with the Texas Department of Public Safety to ensure you are following the law. 

Posted 10:19 AM  View Comments

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