Safety requirements for traveling with a child in a car are continually updated, and it’s vital that caregivers are aware of and follow the most up-to-date information about car seat laws in Texas. Below are the “best practice recommendations” from the recently published guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (November 2018).
Although it might feel odd to have your baby riding backwards in the back seat, it’s the safest traveling position. The longer you can keep your child safely and comfortably in a rear-facing car safety seat (refer to the CSS manufacturer guidelines), the better. A child may be able to ride rear-facing until age two or beyond in a modern convertible seat.
Once your child has exceeded the approved weight or height limit on the rear-facing CSS, they should be secured in a forward-facing CSS. Make sure the new car seat has a harness and refer to the CSS manufacturer for height and weight limits to determine how long they can safely ride.
A belt-positioning booster seat should be used once a child becomes too heavy or tall for the forward-facing, harness-equipped CSS. Until your child is able to secure a car’s lap and shoulder seat belt properly, they should use the booster seat. According to the AAP, that typically occurs between ages 8 and 12 and when the child measures 4 feet, 9 inches.
When the booster no longer fits, always instruct your child to fasten their lap and shoulder seat belts. No one under the age of 13 should ride in the front seat.
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