Children are precious, and whether you are heading to an Easter Egg Hunt or a race track near Austin, or just to school and home, it’s important that they can be safe as well. With these Texas car seat safety tips, we are going to cover when do children need to be in a car seat in Texas and what are some common mistakes parents make when installing them.
When do children need to be in a car seat in Texas?
In Texas law, children need to be in a car seat (or in a booster seat) at least until they are seven years old, or 57 inches (4 feet 9 inches). Whether the child is in a car seat or a booster seat depends on on their age and size. Generally, up to age 4 children should be in a properly-installed car seat. After that, children should be in a booster seat until age 10-12. Until they are tall enough, seat belts designed for adults may actually hurt children if you are in an accident.
These car seat rules are “primary enforcement”, which means that if a police officer sees children unsecured in your vehicle in Texas, you can be pulled over.
Common mistakes when installing car seats
Car seats are great for protecting young passengers, but they are only effective when installed correctly. Here are a few common mistakes that people make when installing car seats:”
- Leaving the straps too loose – If the seat can shift more than an inch in any direction, or if you can easily pinch the seat belt, you should tighten it. The last thing you want is for the seat to move in an accident.
- Face the right direction – Small children’s car seats should face the rear seat, while older children will face the front. The correct direction will depend on the age and size of your child.
- Having a worn-out seat – While it can be tempting to re-use seats, after a certain point newly designed car seats offer better protection. A model that has been in an accident, or is older may be damaged in ways you can’t detect (especially if the car seat has been baked for years in the Texas heat).
If you have a question about your car seat, or want to be sure that it fits, you can visit buckleupforlife.org for more information.