Many parents in Texas are approaching a time in their child's life about whether it's the right time to move them from a car seat to the front seat of their car. For the child, finally getting out of that booster seat will be a freeing experience.

Parents know that there are laws about keeping their child in a car seat or booster seat, but is there a law about when the child can move out of those safety restraints? In Texas, there is. Let's review the laws around this question below.

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Car and Booster Seats

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has a four-step guideline for parents. These are set up so their child will be the most protected while riding in the vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a set of standards for every car seat manufacturer to adhere to. You can find all kinds of information about what is required in a car or booster seat at cert.safekids.org.

4 Stages of Child Passenger Safety

  • Rear-Facing Seat - For any newborn up to 1 year old and 20-22 pounds
  • Forward-Facing Seat - For 1 to 4-year-olds up to 65 pounds
  • Booster Seat - 4 to 8-year-olds up to 4'9" tall
  • Legal for Front Seat - 8-year-olds and up and/or 4'9" tall

Proper Fit of Seat Belt

There are five things to check for to make sure the car's seat belt fits your child properly:

  • Can the child sit all the way back in the seat?
  • Does the child's knees bend easily at the edge of the seat?
  • Does the seat belt cross the center of the shoulder and chest?
  • Does the lap belt cross the tops of the thighs?
  • Can the child stay seated for an extended trip?

If the answer is no to any of those questions, they may still need a booster seat. If the answer is yes, then the child is good to go to ride in the front seat.

Finding More Information

If you want some more details on this, go to dps.texas.gov. You can go to cert.safekids.org for more car and booster information.

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