How To Keep Your Kids Safe In Car And Booster Seats - Texas Car Seat Laws and Safety Guidelines

Prevent serious injuries for children and penalties for adults

Child in car seat
Have you ever wondered whether your 9-year old still has to sit in a booster seat or whether your 11-year old can sit in the front? Or what you need to do when your child's car or booster seat was recalled?

Booster seats are utilized to secure young children and those under certain weight thresholds to secure them in place in motor vehicles. When booster seats meet the necessary safety measures and testing, they can serve as great tools in assisting in children’s safety. 

However, there are instances when individuals fail to use booster seats properly. In other instances booster seats are not used at all or are defective. Faulty booster seats and failure to adhere to state safety guidelines can lead to serious injuries for children and penalties for adults. 

Are Car and Booster Seats Required In Texas?

Different states in the country have different requirements related to booster seat laws. In Texas, it is encouraged for all infants and toddlers to ride in a rear facing car seat until they reach the age of two. 

Once the child is two year or older, the child is required by law to face forward the front of the vehicle and use a forward facing car seat with a harness up to the manufacturer’s suggested height and weight limits. Most children should remain in a booster seat until the seat belt fits properly over their person. This is typically when the child reaches 4ft 9in between the ages of eight and twelve.   

Failure to safely transport a child under 4ft 9in in a proper car or booster seat is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine between $25 and $250

According to The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children. TxDOT points out that 46% of all car seats are misused.

What Should I Do If I Bought a Car or Booster Seat That’s Been Recalled?

If you have purchased a car or a booster seat that has been recalled by the manufacturer, it is imperative to follow the instructions on the recall notification received. If a recall notification was not received by the end user, review the recalled products and contact the specific manufacturer’s customer service team. 

Customer service information can be accessed through the company’s website and the manufacturer should replace, repair or issue credits for the faulty product. 

What Are The Dangers Of Recalled Car or Booster Seats?

During the ten year period between January 2012 and January 2022, several issues associated with car or booster seats were identified. Some of the common causes of recalled child seats include:

  • Increased risk of injury in event of a car accident

  • Difficulty to remove the child from the restraint, resulting in an increased risk of injury during emergency situation 

  • Choking hazards

  • Child not properly restrained or secured by harness

  • Increased risk of chest injury during crash

  • Lack of safety warnings 

  • Lack of adequate restraints that can lead to injury to child, injuries to other vehicle occupants

What Car Seat Brands Have Recalled Products?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a report that outlines all of the recalls between January 2012 and January 2022. The list of recalls includes thirteen manufacturers and eighty one models have been recalled during the ten year span. Manufacturers that have recalled booster seats include:

  • Graco

  • Evenflo

  • Britax

  • Clek

  • Combi

  • Baby Trend

  • Diono

  • Maxi-Cosi 

  • Recaro

  • Angel Guard

  • Babideal

  • Kiddy

  • WAYB

Car and Booster Seat Recalls & Percentage of Total Recalls Between January 2012 - January 2022

Car seat recalls

How Can I Ensure My Child’s Seat Is Properly Set Up in Texas?

In Austin - and across Texas - the TxDOT offers car seat checks to ensure that the child seat is properly secured and in proper working condition. These safety assessments are now available virtually. Sign up for a car seat check if you are ever unsure of how to properly set up a child’s car or booster seat. 


Stay Safe!

Picture credit: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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This blog was sponsored by Bonilla Law Firm PLLC in Austin, TX.

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