As a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer who has handled many child injury cases resulting from car wrecks and other traffic accidents in DFW, I know that children are prone to suffering very serious injuries as a result of being an occupant in a vehicle involved in an auto collision.
Statistics show that Texas motor-vehicle accidents account for an alarming percentage of child injuries requiring ER treatment, and are one of the main causes of child fatalities.
The best advice I can give you as a Fort Worth child injury attorney is to make sure that you always use the appropriate safety seat for your child’s size and weight. Standard seat belts are made for adults and requiring young children to stay in a booster-seat longer is a much safer option. Lap belts ride up and shoulder belts can cut into a child's neck and face in a car crash. Booster seats, however, help elevate small kids so that their stronger bones (like the collarbone and pelvis) take the brunt of the impact in an accident.
Texas law regarding child safety restraints in passenger vehicles states that:
“A person commits an offense if the person operates a passenger vehicle, transports a child who is younger than eight years of age, unless the child is taller than four feet, nine inchesand does not keep the child secured during the operation of the vehicle in a child passenger safety seat system according to the instructions of the manufacturer of the safety seat system.”
Get caught breaking the law and you could be fined. Click here to read the full legislative details on the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The Texas Department of Public Safety recommends that rear-facing car seats be used for as long as possible, and always in the back seat of the car.
Children younger than one year old should never sit in a forward-facing car seat, and all children should remain in a backwards-facing seat for as long as possible. Even they graduate to a forward-facing seat they should remain in the back seat.
Once your child meets these age/weight requirements, they are able to sit in an approved booster seat to be used with the standard adult lap and shoulder safety belt.
Children will outgrow their booster seat once they can comfortably and safely use a regular adult seat belt. DPS guidelines suggest this will usually occur once a child is 4’9” tall and/or weighs 100 lbs.
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