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What Is the Law For Booster Seats in Texas and Does It Affect Accident Cases?

In the state of Texas, the law requires that everyone in a car be properly restrained, no matter how old they are. You must secure children under the age of 8 years old within the proper car seat or booster seat before putting the car into motion. The only exception is if the child is under the age of 8 years old but exceeds a height of 4 feet 9 inches.

Using the Right Booster Seat

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the guidelines for which child safety seats are appropriate, and for how long, are listed below:

From Infancy To 2 Years Old, Or Up To 35 Pounds:

  • Use a rear-facing car seat
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions with regard to installing, using, and caring for the seat
  • Secure the chest clip evenly with the child’s armpits
  • Ensure the harness straps are snug without any slack at the child’s shoulders
  • Use the harness slot on the safety seat at or below the child’s shoulders

It used to be that you could take your child out of a rear-facing seat once they reached two years old, but the American Association of Pediatrics now recommends you leave him or her in a rear-facing seat until they outgrow it. In the event of a crash, the neck and spine are better supported in a rear-facing seat, and the seat absorbs a majority of the impact, reducing injury.

From 2 To 4 Years Old, Or Up To 80 Pounds:

  • Use a forward-facing safety seat
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions with regard to installing, using, and caring for the seat
  • Secure the chest clip evenly with the child’s armpits
  • Ensure the harness is snug without any slack at the child’s shoulders
  • Use either the seat belt or the lower anchors to secure the seat, but do not use both

From 4 To 8 Years Old, Or A Minimum Of 40 Pounds:

  • Use a booster seat based on the child’s height and weight
  • Ensure you are installing the seat properly by using both the lap and shoulder belts
  • Fasten the lap belt across the child’s thighs, not his or her stomach
  • Rest the shoulder belt across the child’s chest, not his or her neck

Punishment For Improper Restraints

Texas law dictates that any adult who does not secure a child properly in a booster seat or car seat can be ticketed, charged with a misdemeanor, and fined anywhere from $25 to $250, plus court costs. The reason for such a harsh law is to ensure that you secure your child safely anytime you take him or her out in your vehicle.

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor because the officer thought you used an improper restraint on your child, a Dallas car accident lawyer can help.

Booster Seat Recalls

Sometimes you can do everything right, but if the booster seat you purchased was faulty from the start, then what you do unfortunately may not matter. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists the recalls for all car and booster seats from the past 10 years, and it is updated every time a new car seat is recalled.

Of course, you can’t keep checking this list every day to see if your booster seat is on it, so it is important that you register your car seat with the registration card that comes with it when you buy it. That way, you will be one of the first to know if and when a recall is issued for that particular seat.

Have You Been in an Accident? We Can Help!

Accidents on their own are scary, let alone if you have a child in the car. And perhaps nothing is more infuriating and upsetting than knowing that the other driver drove negligently and put both you and your child’s lives at risk for no reason. However, if your child sustained an injury in the crash, then you also must be able to prove that you secured your child properly in his booster seat – or else the other driver can use that against you and get your claim thrown out.

If you’re considering suing the other driver for negligence, it would be in your best interests to hire a Dallas car accident lawyer to help you with your case. Our lawyers are well-versed in the law regarding both booster seats and negligence in the state of Texas, and we can help you recover the money you deserve as the result of any damages or injuries. If you would like to speak to one of the lawyers on our team, fill out our contact form, or give us a call at 214-305-8277 to get started.

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