Every state in the U.S. has a law requiring child car seats. Texas passed its child car seat law in 1995. This law has changed several times since it was first enacted.
In its current form, it requires children younger than eight years old and under four feet, nine inches tall to ride in a child car seat or booster seat. After the child turns eight or grows taller than four feet, or nine inches, they must wear a seat belt.
Texas child car seat laws also contain other provisions that could affect your chances of getting compensation for a car accident that results in injuries to your child.
FVF Law was founded in 2014 to serve accident victims in Texas. We’ve dedicated our practice to educating the public about their rights after an accident. This client-centered approach has earned the firm’s attorneys five-star client ratings on Yelp, Google, and Avvo.
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If you or a loved one have suffered an injury in a car accident, you could be facing the most significant medical and financial challenges of your life. Contact FVF Law at (512) 982-9328 to discuss your options for seeking the compensation you need to move forward after a collision in Austin, Texas.
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In 2019, more than 600 children died in car accidents across the United States, while more than 91,000 were injured.
In Texas, the statistics are similarly grim. In 2021, there were 78 fatalities and 9,561 injuries among children under the age of eight in traffic accidents, according to state crash statistics.
Child car seat use made a significant difference. According to the same crash report, 13.4% of restrained children suffered injury or death, while the number was as high as 31.9% for unrestrained children. This means unrestrained children were nearly 2.4 times more likely to be injured or killed in an auto accident in 2021 than restrained children.
Every state has laws governing the use of child car seats, and they’re generally effective at encouraging car seat use. In 2021, 97.2% of children involved in Texas car accidents were secured in child car seats.
Texas’s child car seat law is very straightforward.
Children younger than eight years old and under four feet, nine inches in height must be restrained. Once a child grows taller than four feet, nine inches, they must wear a seat belt, regardless of age. Similarly, if the child is more than eight years old, they may use a seat belt regardless of height.
This law simply provides the outer limits for the use of child restraints.
To keep your child safe in a car accident, the Texas Department of Transportation suggests using different child restraints based on the following guidelines:
These guidelines comply with the Texas child car seat law and keep your child as safe as possible.
Children suffer many of the same injuries as adults in car accidents, with one crucial exception: since they weigh less, children are far more likely to be ejected from their seats, regardless of whether they’re restrained or unrestrained.
The most common causes of child injuries in car accidents include failure to use child restraints and improper use of such restraints. Parents who don’t wear seat belts are also less likely to use restraints for their children. In 2019, 67% of children killed in car accidents were riding with a driver who wasn’t wearing a seat belt.
Similarly, improper use of child restraints, including the use of the wrong size restraint for the size of the child, contributes to incidents of injuries and deaths. Approximately 46% of car seats are misused or installed incorrectly.
When a child is injured in a car accident, the driver who caused the accident bears responsibility for the accident. But Texas uses modified comparative negligence to assign liability after an accident. An at-fault driver can therefore shift some of the blame for a child’s injury to a parent who negligently failed to use a car seat.
This shifting of liability reduces the damages the child’s guardians can recover. Thus, if the parent was 40% liable for the injuries because they didn’t use a car seat, their child would only be eligible to receive 60% of their potential total damages from the at-fault driver.
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Even when used correctly, car seats cannot prevent all injuries.
If your child has been hurt in a car accident, contact FVF Law to discuss their injuries and the compensation they stand to recover for them.
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