Making sure your child is safe in the back of your car will be the first thing you think about when going on a journey, things change depending on their age but the thought will always be with you.
If you find yourself going on a trip that will cross through a few different states it’s worth getting to know a little bit about other state laws just in case it differs from your own. The main changes that will affect what kind of safety belt or seat your child has are their height and weight, so understanding the guidelines is imperative in order to follow the law correctly.
Firstly, let’s quickly look at the fact that every manufacturer is different and will often have individual instructions on how their product works. This is something you must pay attention to. If the instructions state you must put the baby seat in backward then do it exactly as they say. There’s no point in ignoring how the product itself works.
In Texas, State law regarding child safety in a car is split up into four phases that are seemingly easy to follow. If you are worried about being able to follow them or are confused at all by any phase then having a more in-depth guide to what you should know about state law will be a helpful way to start you off.
Being fully clued up about this will not only help protect your child but will also make sure you’re abiding by the law that’s set for your own safety. It’s been found that the majority of parents get this wrong on a daily basis so if you’re a new parent or you have children already, take a few moments to check to see if you’re keeping your child safe in the right way.
The first phase is regarding newborns or any child under the age of 1, and it states that they should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. Texas state law suggests that this way of seating should be used for as long as comfortably possible or when your child reaches the height or weight limit of the seat manufacturer you have chosen. Make sure you have installed the seat properly and according to the instructions given.
The second phase is a transition from riding in a backward-facing seat to a forward-facing safety seat, and once again they suggest that this way should be used for as long as comfortably possible or up until your child has reached the height or weight limit given by the manufacturers of your chosen seat.
It’s stated that you should never transition from a rear-facing to a forward-facing seat until your child has reached every criterion stated by the seat manufacturer, these are their age, their height, and their weight.
The third phase refers to the time where your child outgrows its forward-facing safety seat with a harness. Once your child has reached the limit of age, height, and weight of his/her’s previous seat then it’s time to upgrade them to a booster seat, this is still dependent on their maturity and if they are going to be able to sit still in a seat that doesn’t have them strapped in with a harness.
A child can ride in the back of a car with a booster seat using the adult lap and shoulder belt provided by the car itself. This phase will continue until the adult seat belt will fit the child safely without a booster seat.
Phase four is the transition into using only the lap and shoulder belt provided by the car, without the need for a booster seat. For a seat belt to fit properly it must lie across the top of the thighs, not the stomach, and the shoulder strap should lie across the chest and should and not across the neck or the face. Any child under 13 should ride in the back seat for their own safety, and should always use the necessary equipment.
When it comes to traveling in a motor vehicle we should all do our best to keep safe and when it comes to ensuring our children’s safety then nothing else should be more important. Make sure you are sticking to each phase for as long as you possibly can, children are better protected the longer they stay in each phase, and when it comes to being a more mature child, then making sure they understand the importance of keeping safe will make sure they stick to it themselves.
Using a booster seat might not be the coolest thing to do when you’re 10, but it’s much better than finding yourselves in a crash and finding the seatbelt did not work properly. Stay sensible and stay safe.