Texas Car Seat Laws | Booster Seat Regulations (2019)

texas car seat laws 2016

Texas Car Seat Laws

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the leading cause of death and serious injury for children over a year old. The importance of child safety seats and car seat and seat belt laws cannot be overstated.

At what age can my child stop using a car seat?

Pursuant to Texas Transportation Code Section 545.412, a child who is under the age of 8 must use a child safety seat, unless the child is taller than 4 feet 9 inches. There are some exceptions to this rule, which are covered below.

How much is a ticket for no car seat in Texas?

A person who does not keep a child under the age of 8 in a child seat can be fined between $25 and $250.

What are the exceptions to the Texas car seat laws?

There are a number of exceptions to the child safety seat requirement in Texas. The exceptions and defenses are as follows:

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  1. If the child is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall, the child does not have to be in a child car seat.
  1. It is a defense to prosecution that the person was operating a vehicle in an emergency.
  1. It is a defense to prosecution that the person was operating a vehicle for a law enforcement purpose.
  1. Taxis, limousines, hired shuttles, public transit buses and other vehicles for hire are usually excepted from this requirement.
  1. There is an exception to this requirement if all the seats with child safety seat systems or seat belts are occupied.

How long should children ride in rear-facing safety seats?

Infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing safety seat until they are 2 years old, or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their safety seat’s manufacturer.

What are Texas’ booster seat requirements?

Texas requires that child safety seats are used based on manufacturer recommendations. NHTSA recommends that booster seats be used in the back seat from ages 4 to 8 and when the child weighs over 40 pounds unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller.

booster seat recommendations

When can a child sit in the front seat in Texas?

There is no law in Texas specifies when a child can sit in the front seat. However, the law requires that all child safety seat systems must be used according to owner’s manual. Most vehicle manufacturers’ require and recommend keeping all children 12 years and younger in the back seat. Additionally, rear-facing child seats cannot be used in the front seat of cars equipped with front passenger airbags in most situations. Children are safer if they are properly restrained in the back seat than in the front seat.

What does the law say about seat belts and children?

It is against the law to allow a child under the age of 17 to ride in a vehicle without wearing a seat belt, if the vehicle is equipped with seatbelts. In Texas, a ticket for seatbelt violation can cost up to $250. It’s vitally important for parents to make sure the kids are buckled up before putting the car in drive.

Did you know?

Did you know that trained child seat inspectors will inspect your car seat installation and help you properly install your car seat free of charge? Just visit safercar.gov to find an inspection center near you.

To learn more about NHTSA recommendations for the use of child safety seats and booster seats, visit NHTSA website by clicking the image below:


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Our law firm does not handle traffic or seat belt tickets, however, if you or someone you love has been accused of criminal offense involving child, such as child endangerment, call for a complimentary strategy session. During this call we will:

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  • Discuss the legal issues involved, including the direct and collateral consequences of the allegation; and
  • Discuss the defenses that apply to your plan and in general terms discuss our approach to your case.
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Benson Varghese

Managing Partner at Varghese Summersett PLLC
Benson Varghese is the founder and Managing Partner of Varghese Summersett PLLC. He is a prolific writer and has authored hundreds of articles about criminal law in Texas and at the Federal level. His articles have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Above the Law, and have been selected as Top Blogs by the State Bar of Texas. He was named the Young Lawyer of the Year in 2019 by the Tarrant County Bar Association. Benson led the firm to become one of the 500 fastest growing businesses in the United States by Inc 500 Magazine in 2018. In the same year, the firm was named the Best Law Firm in Fort Worth by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The lawyers at Varghese Summersett PLLC exclusively handle criminal defense matters.
Benson Varghese