Texas law states that you must secure any child under 8 years old in a federally approved child car seat while operating the vehicle, unless the child is more than 4'9. Failure to secure your child can result in a fine of up to $25 for the first offense and up to $250 for subsequent offenses.
Most parents understand the necessity of car seats for newborns and infants. It gives them more security and protection in the event of a crash, especially in the protection of direct blunt force from an air bag or from the crash itself. It also prevents the child from becoming a distraction to the driver.
Once a child hits the age of six or seven, however, parents start pulling out the car or booster seats and sometimes even allow their kid to seat in the front seat. This is a huge mistake. Children this age are often not large enough to be safe out of a car seat, especially if there's an accident.
Guidelines for Buying Car Seats
These are the following guidelines from the when buying a car seat for your child:
- Up to 1 year old and 35 pounds:
- Use a rear-facing seat suitable for your child's height and weight.
- Make sure you check the height and weight capacity of your car seat and follow the installation and operating instructions carefully.
- 1 - 4 years old and 20 - 40 pounds:
- Use a forward-facing seat for as long as is recommended by the manufacturer.
- 4 - 8 years old and over 40 pounds:
- Use a booster seat.
What Are Child Car Seat Inspection Stations?
Child car seat inspection stations are spots around Fort Worth where Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Technicians teach moms and dads how to properly install their child's car seat, and ensure that the parents leave with a correctly installed seat.
In Texas, car accidents account for an alarming number of child injuries and fatalities. Luckily, car and booster seats reduce the risk of injury and can even save a child's life. According to the CDC:
- Car seats reduce the risk of infant death by 71 percent
- Car seats reduce the risk of toddler death by 54 percent
- Booster seats reduce the risk of serious injury in children by 45 percent
What Can I Expect During a Car Seat Inspection?
Car seat inspections are scheduled (by you) in advance and typically take 20 to 30 minutes. During the inspected, a registered CPS Technician will inspect the way the car seat has been installed, fix any mistakes and then show you how to install the car seat, start to finish. By the time you leave, you should feel confidant in your child's car seat and your ability to install it.
Can I Schedule a Car Seat Inspection Before the Baby's Born?
Yes. If expecting, schedule your appointment one to two months before Mom's due date.
Where Can I Get My Car Seat Inspected in Fort Worth?
For a full list of inspection sites, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website.