Are You Following Texas’ Updated Car Seat Laws?
Texas laws regarding children's car seats have changed multiple times within the last decade, which means parents should make sure to be in compliance with seat belt and car seat safety policies in the Lone Star State.
Does your child need a rear-facing car seat in Texas?
According to TxDOT, infants and toddlers (birth to two years of age) should ride in a rear-facing car seat until their second birthday, or until they pass the maximum height and weight allowed by the car seat's manufacturer.
If the child passes the maximum height, weight, or second birthday, you can transition them to a forward-facing seat.
Does your child need a forward-facing car seat in Texas?
Children from two to four years old should continue riding in a forward-facing car seat with a harness system until they exceed the maximum height and weight listed by the seat manufacturer.
Does your child need a booster seat in Texas?
After age four or the child has outgrown safety harness seats, kids should use a booster seat. They should use a booster seat until the vehicle's seatbelt fits properly — this is sometime between ages eight and 12, or when a child reaches 4'9" tall.
According to Texas DPS, children older than eight years are not required to use a booster seat, but they will be better protected in the event of a crash if they continue using a booster seat until they reach 4'9" and can wear the adult seat belt correctly.
Can children ride in the front seat in Texas?
Texas doesn't have a law specifying where children can or cannot sit in a passenger vehicle, aside from the rule that car seats must be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you use a rear-facing car seat in a single-cab vehicle, you must manually disable the passenger airbag.
Have other questions about using children's seatbelts in Texas? Texas Department of Public Safety has a full document of frequently asked questions available here.
TXDoT's "Save Me With a Seat" campaign also offers remote car seat installation guidance and car seat checks online. Find out how to contact a TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist in your area here.