Texas Auto Insurance: Car Seat Laws -Protecting Precious CargoBy Insurance.comChildren are undoubtedly the most precious cargo that any parent carries in theirautomobile. Nevertheless, improper usage of child restraint systems needlessly injuresthousands of children on Texas`s roads each year. While some of these injuries arecaused by clear violations of Texas`s car seat law, advocates for broader car seat lawsclaim that many of the injuries occur because Texas`s car seat law doesn`t go far enough.According to Texas`s car seat law (http://www.txdps.state.tx.us): Children must be secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system (safety or booster seat) until they are at least 5 years old or over 36 inches.Thus, under the Texas car seat law, children over 5 years old or 36 inches may ride in avehicle using a standard adult safety belt. The problem with this according to advocates isthat most children under 80 pounds are too small for an adult seat belt. Even the TexasDepartment of Public Safety`s website indicates that the Texas car seat law sets theminimum safety standard that should be followed. This is because adult seat belts canactually be dangerous to children over 5 years old because the belt cuts directly acrosstheir neck instead of snug across the center of their shoulder. This can lead to seriousinjury or even death in the event of an accident.So what`s a safety-conscious parent to do? Car seat safety advocates recommend thatTexans follow one of the following guidelines: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that children over 40 pounds use a belt-positioning booster seat until they are 8 years old, unless they are 4`9" or taller. The American Academy of Pediatricians goes a bit further and advocates for booster seat use until the child reaches 4`9" in height and is between 8 and 12 years of age.If your child resists using a belt-positioning booster, experts recommend the following: Avoid referring to the seat as a "car seat" or "baby seat." Instead, use the terms "booster seat," "safety seat," or "big boy/girl seat." If your car`s back seat has headrests, consider using a backless booster which looks less like a "real" car seat to most children. Discuss car safety with your children and the reasons a booster keeps them safe. Play up the benefits of a booster such as an improved view out the window, cup holders, and arm rests.
In the end, the Texas car seat law should be viewed as a starting point for any child`straveling safety. Parents should take into consideration their child`s unique height,weight, and other attributes that may impact their use of standard, adult seat belts.And if you have any doubts about what`s the right thing to do, simply err on the sideof caution. After all, you`re protecting your most precious cargo