AUSTIN – Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 18-24, and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding drivers to make sure your young passengers are secured properly in order to save lives.
Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death among children.
On average, two children under the age of 13 were killed, and an estimated 374 were injured, every day in 2019 while riding in passenger vehicles according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While most people believe their children are properly buckled up, NHTSA estimates about half of all car seats are misused.
DPS offers the following tips to ensure children are properly restrained while riding in a vehicle:
- When selecting a car seat for your child, ensure it fits in your vehicle properly before purchasing it.
- Avoid purchasing a car seat if you are not aware of the history (i.e. yard sales, social media platforms, etc.).
- Model good behavior to young passengers and make sure you are wearing your seat belt so your children will know it’s the right thing to do.
- Infant car seats should always be rear-facing, and never used forward-facing.
- Be sure to check the maximum height and weight limits of the car seat so children may be properly transitioned to the next one.
- For older children who are using booster seats with lap belts, ensure the belt is across the pelvic area and the shoulder belt strap is placed across the shoulder. It should never be placed along a child’s neck or abdominal area. It should never be used under the arm or behind the back as it could cause severe injury in a crash.
- Texas law states all children younger than 8 years old, unless taller than 4’9”, are required to be in the appropriate car seat wherever they ride in a passenger vehicle. The car seat MUST be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Children 8 years and older must be in a seat belt, if an adult hasn’t properly restrained a child, they can receive a $250 ticket.
If you have questions, please request installation assistance from a National Child Passenger Safety Technician at one of our local DPS offices. Additional information is available at the DPS website.