When it comes to child restraint laws, parents of newborn children often must take into consideration the legal restrictions set by their individual state both as a guideline for best practice as well as a way to avoid legal trouble. In this process of understanding, there are a number of questions raised relating to legal definitions and requirements. This blog will detail some of these questions, and provide feedback based on TxDPS child passenger safety information detailed on their site. Remember that when it comes to taking responsibility for the consequences of malpractice, it is the guardian’s torch to bear.

  • What is the Texas Law for child passenger safety?
  • Whenever riding in a passenger vehicle, all children under eight years of age are required to be in their corresponding child safety seat system. This, however, does not apply to children over 4’9”. The specific system used must also be installed in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Basically, after reaching their eighth birthday, children are legally allowed to use only adult safety belts (though for best practice, it is recommended that they still use the appropriate child safety system prior to reaching the height ceiling).
  • Child passenger restraint systems must meet federal standards for crash-tested restraint systems set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • “Passenger vehicles” are defined as a passenger car, SUV, truck, truck tractor or passenger van (<= 15 total occupants). This does not include buses.
  • What type of vehicles exempt from the child passenger safety law?
  • Typically, vehicles for hire (such as cabs, limousines, shuttles and public transit buses) are exempt from child passenger safety laws. Note also that booster seats cannot be used in school buses and related vehicles.
  • What are the various car seat types and what age / size do they correspond to?
  • As children grow, they will need different accommodations when it comes to car seat safety. Because not all seats fit smoothly in every vehicle, it is essential to pick a seat that works comfortably with your mode of transportation.
  • Rear-Facing Car Seat:
    • Best for young children (birth – 3 years old)
    • Comes with a harness
    • Designed to reduce stress to a child’s neck and spinal cord during a crash (this is done by cradling and moving with the child)
  • Forward-Facing Car Seat:
    • Best for children (1 – 7 years old)
    • Comes with a harness and tether
    • Designed to limit your child’s forward movement during a crash
  • Booster Seat:
    • Best for children (4 – 12 years old)
    • Helps position the seat belt so that it fits securely over the strongest parts of a child’s body
    • The idea is to keep your child in a booster seat until they are able to properly fit in a seat belt
  • Seat Belt:
    • Best for children (8 – 12 years old)
    • Note that for a seat belt to fit properly, the lab belt must lie comfortably across the upper thighs, not the stomach
  • Remember that the best seat for you is one that fits your child’s weight, age, height, can be properly installed and be used effectively every time a child is present.
  • Can I use booster seats in passenger vans or buses?
  • Because booster seats require an adult lap or shoulder belt for proper use, they can only be used in vehicles that have this type of belt.

It should also be considered that many questions regarding specific vehicle set-up will be directed to the manufacturer’s instructions set in each systems’ manual. These include, but are not limited to, questions relating to whether a child can ride in the front seat, if the safety system is reusable after an accident, seat expiration date, etc. With ample knowledge of the laws surrounding child vehicle safety, you will have the necessary tools to tackle situations involving the barriers between your child and potential harm.

Texas Child Restraint Laws 2019

Related Posts