Children are dependent on their guardians for many things, including protection. Parents are expected to properly restrain and position their children in a car when driving. This reduces the chances of the children falling victim to child car seat accidents.
However, research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that over 618,000 children up to 12 years of age ride in cars without proper restraints. This situation led to 122,000 serious child injuries and 602 deaths from car accidents in 2014.
If your child has sustained injuries in an auto accident, a Houston Car Accident Attorney can answer your questions about liability and the possibility or compensation.
TEXAS CAR SEAT LAWS
The Texas Department of Public Safety outlines a set of regulations to ensure parents follow proper child car seat instructions and use the appropriate seating gear. This is aimed at protecting children under the age of 12 from severe injuries. Some of the rules include:
Children should never ride in the front seat of a vehicle
Children under 8 years of age must be restrained in an appropriate booster or car seat
All children in a vehicle must be restrained by seat belts
Children with a height above 4 ft. 9’ can ride in the back without a booster seat but with seat belts on
Teenagers can ride in the front seat with seat belts on
By following these rules, you can shield your child from some of the dangers of a car accident. You can also protect yourself from the repercussions that follow a violation. These include a traffic violation charge, points on your license, a mandatory Texas seat belt course, or a fine of up to $200.
CAR SEAT OPTIONS FOR CHILDREN
Generally, very young children should always ride in the back in a rear-facing child seat. Slightly older children can sit in the same position but in a front-facing seat. All children should be restrained with belts at all times. Here is an overview of the viable seating and restraining options in Texas:
Rear-facing seat – A rear-facing seat is best suited to children younger than 1 year of age. It offers cushion and support for a baby’s head, neck, and spine. This cradles their body, eliminating the risk of whiplash.
Forward-facing seat – This seat is ideal for babies older than 1 who are too big for a rear-facing seat. It includes a harness and tether that secures the child’s abdomen, shoulder, pelvis, and hips to the seat.
Booster seat – This is a seat used to elevate your child, so the vehicle’s seat belts can fit around them.
Belt – Used when a child outgrows their booster seat. Parents can use belt adjusters to provide comfort.
TALK TO A HOUSTON CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
Children are more vulnerable to child car seat accidents injuries than their guardians. The risk increases significantly when the child is improperly restrained or not restrained at all. Consequently, every parent must incorporate booster seats into their vehicles. They should also learn proper sizing, fastening, and buckling, given that an estimated 46 percent of these seats are used ineffectively.
If you have any questions regarding this matter, contact Husain Law + Associates, P.C., to talk to a Houston Car Accident Attorney.