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When Can My Child Ride in the Front Seat in Texas?

January 25, 2023 | Car Crash

As a parent, you want to do what’s best for your children, but it can take a lot of work to keep up with all the laws and regulations. One area that often causes confusion is when your child is old enough, or big enough, to safely ride in the front seat without getting severely injured in a crash. In Texas, this rule is regulated by the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS). 

Children Under 8, Unless Taller Than 4’9, Cannot Sit in The Front Seat

The law in Texas requires all children under the age of 8, unless taller than 4’9″, to use an appropriate child safety seat system wherever they ride. This means they are not permitted to ride in the front seat, as it’s not possible to put an appropriate child safety seat in the front seat. When a child reaches their 8th birthday – regardless of their height or weight– it is legal for the child to sit in the front seat and use only the adult seatbelt. 

This does not mean you should allow them to do so right away. Safety or booster seats should still be used until the child meets certain height or weight requirements set by manufacturers, which often doesn’t occur until a year or two later.

The Backseat Is Safer Than the Front Seat 

The CDC recommends that all children under the age of 13 ride in the backseat because it is safer than riding up front. This is in large part due to airbags. Airbags are designed to protect adults in the event of a collision, but they can be dangerous for children. 

This is because children are smaller and less able to handle the force of an airbag deployment. The power of the airbag can cause injuries, such as broken bones, cuts, and bruises.

In the event of a crash, a child safety seat or booster seat in the back of the vehicle will also provide additional protection for a child’s head, neck, and spine, which are not fully developed until later in life. The child safety seat or booster seat will also keep the child properly positioned to use the vehicle’s seat belt, which is essential for preventing injuries.

Car Seats Are Essential to Your Child’s Safety 

It isn’t enough just to put your child in the backseat; you must also ensure that they are appropriately secured with a car seat or booster seat appropriate for their age and weight. This will go a long way toward ensuring your child is safe while traveling in your vehicle. 

Furthermore, it’s essential to ensure that you install their car seat correctly according to manufacturer instructions and applicable state laws. 

If you are unsure how to properly install a car seat or booster seat, many police departments offer free installation services where officers will come out and check that everything has been installed correctly before you hit the road.

It’s natural for kids to want to stop using booster seats and other safety devices when they’re getting a bit older. However, parents must remain firm and stick with the recommended guidelines.

Texas takes its child passenger safety laws very seriously, and parents are obligated to ensure their children are safe at all times while traveling by car. If you have any questions or need help with any type of civil claim, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.