Texas lawmakers in 2009 modified state law regarding children's car seat rules and regulations. The new laws are now written in Texas Transportation Code 545.412. Code 545.412 was modified to properly compliment Code 545-413, which specifies guidelines pertaining to the safety of all occupants of moving cars. Part of the new legislation covers child weight requirements for the use of booster seats. Texas law requires children of a specific age and/or weight to be secured properly in booster seats. The law is made public by the Texas Department of Public Safety and enforced by all state law enforcement agencies.
What is a Booster Seat?
A booster seat is a modified child's car seat that resembles a small bench or bleacher seat. It is commonly strapped to the back seat of a vehicle while the child is secured by the vehicle's seat belt or strapping mechanism on the seat itself. In most states, children who are too big to ride in traditional infant and toddler car seats and too small to use standard vehicle seat belts must ride in a booster seat. A booster seat may or may not have a back, while most have armrests.
Texas Weight and Height Requirements
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, all children more than 40 pounds, ages 4 through 8, must ride in a booster seat while a vehicle is moving. Children taller than 4 feet 9, however, are not required to be secured in booster seats.
Belt and Seat Position Requirements
In Texas, children who fall within booster seat height, weight or age requirements must be secured in forward-facing, belt-positioning booster seats in any moving vehicle. Seats with or without backs are permitted. Seats are only to be used with a lap/shoulder strap combination. Seat belts must be positioned safely and tightly and as low as possible. This requirement is to minimize abdominal and internal organ injury in the event of a crash.
Miscellaneous Texas Child Car Seat Requirements
The Texas Department of Public Safety routinely reminds motorists traveling with children to always use five-point safety harnesses and to never place car seats in the direct line of active airbags. Officials recommend that children be kept in rear-facing car seats as long as possible and install car and booster seats according to manufacturer instructions.