by Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Carrollton, Tim O’Hare
Although child safety has evolved over the years, car accidents remain the leading cause of death in children ages four and under. In November 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a change in recommendations regarding best practices for child car seat use and safety. The new policy statement includes five evidence-based recommendations to optimize vehicle safety for children.
While car seat laws in Texas have not changed, the Texas Department of Public Safety strongly encourages parents and caregivers to follow these new AAP guidelines.
What does the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend?
- Infants and toddlers should sit in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.
- Children should sit in a forward-facing car seat from the time they outgrow rear-facing seats as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat manufacturer.
- Belt-positioning booster seats should be used from the time a child outgrows a forward-facing seat until the vehicle lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, typically when the child reaches four feet, nine inches in height and is at least eight years of age.
- Lap and shoulder seat belts should be utilized for children who have outgrown booster seats.
- All children younger than 13 years should ride in the rear seat of vehicles.
Every transition from one stage to the next is associated with a decrease in protection, so parents are encouraged to delay transitioning their child as long as possible.
What are the laws in Texas?
Under Texas law, all children under eight years of age, unless taller than 57 inches, are required to be in an appropriate child safety seat system whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle. The safety seat must be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Although not required by law, Texas recommends rear-facing seats for all children until they either turn two years old or reach 35 pounds.
Even the best parents can make mistakes when it comes to child safety. Research suggests that as many as 95 percent of families fail to install their infant’s car seat correctly and many older children aren’t safely secured in a booster seat when doing so is necessary for the child’s safety.
Recommendations for your child’s safety in a vehicle are based on evidence. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Journal of Pediatrics, a devastating 43 percent of kids killed in car accidents are either unrestrained or improperly restrained.
Are you doing enough to protect your child? Take some time to check and double check that your child is using the appropriate car safety seat and that the seat is properly installed in your vehicle. If you are unsure whether or not your child’s seat is properly installed in your vehicle, schedule an appointment for a free safety seat check-up at one of the 25 Texas Department of Transportation district offices. Many local police stations and fire stations also have staff certified to inspect your child’s safety seat.
You child’s life depends on it.
If you or your child has been injured in a car accident, contact one of the best personal injury lawyers in Dallas, Tim O’Hare, today.
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