The state of Texas requires all children younger than eight years old, unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches, to be secured in a child safety seat whenever they ride in a vehicle. 

Sutliff & Stout reported that traffic fatalities are the most common causes of child deaths in Texas. In Texas alone, over 200 child fatalities were reported due to vehicular accidents in 2020. According to the report, none of the children were properly restrained, which was the major cause of the death and the injuries suffered by them

This data shows the dangers of not following the state’s car seat laws. In This article, I will give you the necessary information about Texas’ Car Seat Laws. The recommendations and the penalties for not following the Child Passenger Safety Law. 

Texas Car Seat Laws

Texas car seat law mandates all children under the age of one to use rear-facing car seats. After the kid has reached the required weight and height, they may utilize a forward-facing car seat. A kid who reaches the height of 4’9″ or the age of eight may ride in a car with an adult safety belt.

The Texas car seat requirements are the bare minimum for keeping children safe in vehicles. It is recommended that children must remain rear-facing and in a forward-facing car seat until they are old and mature enough to undergo the transition. 

All passengers in the vehicle, whether kids or adults, must wear a safety restraint. This is intended to help keep everyone in the car safe and secure. In this article, we will look at Texas’s rear-facing car seat rules, forward-facing seat belt laws, and the consequences for not following them.

Massachusetts car seat laws

Texas Car Seat Laws follow a different format.

Texas car seat rules differ from those found in many other states. This allows them to go into further detail regarding the children’s safety features. And the phases make it easier for parents to recall. 

For example, Texas State Law mandates all children under the age of eight and shorter than 4′ 9″ to use a car seat. The car seat must be correctly fitted according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

The legislation allows a kid above the age of eight to ride without a car seat, even if they are not 4′ 9. But, safety experts advise parents to wait until their children meet both standards before taking further measures. 

Children under the age of eight who are taller than 4′ 9″ may also sit without a car safety seat. To provide an extra layer of security for their children, parents may wish to consider purchasing a good quality car seat or booster seat.

The Four stages of Texas’ Car Seat Laws

In 2016, the Texas Department of Public Safety released a new recommendation list called “The Child Passenger Safety National Best Practice Recommendation List ” which is divided into four stages. 

Keep in mind that Texas law varies greatly and that not all of the elements on this list are required. Yet, many state police officers will use this list during traffic stops to check on the child and ensure their safety.

Authorities also encourage all parents to thoroughly evaluate and implement these instructions. These four stages are designed to keep your children safe from spinal cord injury and, worst, death. The four stages that all parents and carers must go through are as follows:

Phase 1: Sitting in a rear-facing seat

According to the Texas law, children under the age of one must be seated in a rear-facing car seat. This is comparable to what is found in most other states. But, it is also advised that you utilize a rear-facing seat for as long as possible. Make sure to follow the seat’s height and weight restriction instructions as well. 

It is also advised to keep your infant in the rear-facing seat until your child reaches the age of two. This helps to keep them secure for a longer period of time. Parents and guardians as you must also correctly install the car safety seat. Place the car seat in the back of the vehicle in accordance with the owner’s handbook and the car manufacturers’ advice.

When adding the safety restraints and installing the seat, always double-check before placing the child inside. If the car seat is properly in place, it should not move more than an inch in any direction. 

Phase 2: The Forward-facing seats

After your child has outgrown the rear-facing seat, it is time to switch to a forward-facing car seat. If your child is more than a year old, Texas Car Seat Laws recommend allowing them to face forward. Maintain your child in a forward-facing car seat for as long as possible. Check at the harness’s maximum weight and height limits to determine when this is the case. 

Children can usually remain in this seat until they are four years old. Ensure that the seat is properly installed in the back of the vehicle, ideally using the top tether.

Never flip the kid forward-facing until they satisfy all of the age, weight, and height criteria, regardless of Texas car seat regulations. You can consult the car seat manufacturer’s specifications for further details and instructions.

Phase 3: Texas booster Car seat Law And Requirements.

Children who have outgrown their forward-facing seat in Texas can now switch to a booster seat. However, your child should continue to ride in the rear seat. The child can already utilize an adult lap and shoulder belt while in the booster seat. This should be repeated until the adult safety belt fits properly. 

The children must have a lap and shoulder belt in order to utilize the booster seat. This law does not need only a shoulder belt. Parents have the option of selecting a booster seat with a back or one that stands on its own. This selection is based on the child’s age, height, and maturity.

If you have any questions regarding the height, weight, or age restrictions for these booster seats, see the owner’s handbook will provide you with more guidance.

Phase 4: The Adult Safety Belt

Once your child has surpassed all the recommendations for the booster seat, it is time to upgrade to an adult lap and shoulder belt. Parents should only do this if the belt fits properly on their child. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on this. 

There are a few factors to consider while ensuring that the seat belt fits properly. It should fit against the child’s upper thighs rather than across their tummy. The shoulder belt should fit snugly around the chest and shoulders. It should not cross the neck or even the face. Every time you get into the car with your child, make sure to double-check the position of the safety belt.

It is important to remember that even if your child switches to the adult safety belt, they should still sit in the back. This is the safest place for your child, regardless of their age. These four stages are in place to protect your child as much as possible. The longer children are kept in each phase, the safer and more protected they are.

Texas authorities recommend that you keep your children in each seat until they reach the maximum age, weight, and height requirements. Then transfer your kid to the next available seat. Moreover, all children under the age of 13 should sit in the back seat. As a parent, it is always your responsibility to ensure that your child is correctly strapped up or in the appropriate child safety seat.

Texas ‘Click It’ or Ticket Rules

The Click It or Ticket provisions is included in the Texas Car Seat Laws. All passengers in the car must be adequately secured. It is critical for children to complete all four of the aforementioned phases. This is the most secure approach to travel with your children. 

Adult safety restraints are necessary for everyone eight years old and over. This is essential whether the passenger is in the front or rear seat. Backseat passengers who are not restrained must buckle up to avoid being thrown about the car in the case of a collision. Buckling up can also make children 54% more likely to survive a crash.

Everyone in the car which is not in a car seat or fastened up, regardless of age, will be ticketed. In Texas, this applies to both children and adults.

Texas Car Seat Requirements for Single Cab Trucks

According to Texas car seat regulations, children under the age of 13 must wear appropriate restraints and sit in the rear seat. This ensures their safety and protection in the event of a collision. 

There are no alternatives for seating in the back seat of a single cab truck. All other Texas car seat laws must still be followed by children. Examine the four phases listed above to see where your child falls under the car seat law

Be sure that any vehicle seat is not too close to an active airbag. If these deploy, the tiny kid might sustain serious injuries due to the impact of the airbag in the case of a collision. If possible, leave the car seat in the middle position.

Revisions on Texas Car Seat Laws in 2020

A new Texas car seat rule has been enacted to help safeguard children from dying due to heatstroke. Several children have died in Texas as a result of vehicle heat stroke. 

This is a devastating situation for many families, and HB2574 was passed to address it. This is a new regulation that requires Texas nurses to go through all of the risks of leaving children alone in a car. Before leaving the hospital with their children, new parents must undergo this training. 

In addition, parents must do additional car seat instruction at the hospital. Parents will learn how to use and install their car seats securely and can ask any questions they have. This helps new and first-time parents to secure the safety of their children while traveling. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations

The Texas car seat laws diverge from the AAP’s guidelines. These recommendations were issued in November 2018 and made no changes to the Texas statute. 

Several of the AAP’s guidelines, however, meet or exceed Texas car seat standards. Parents and caregivers are highly advised to review these recommendations and determine if they are appropriate for them.

AAP guidelines for car seats include:

  1. Children should stay rear-facing until they are 2 years old or reach the height and weight limits of the car seat
  2. Children older than 2, or those who have outgrown the rear-facing seat, can move to a forward-facing seat. This should be used as long as possible. Some seats allow the child to stay in this safety seat until the child is 65 pounds or more. 
  3. Kids can then move to a booster seat with a belt. They should continue to use these booster seats until they are eight years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall. 
  4. Children can remain in the booster seat for longer if necessary. 
  5. All children under the age of 14 should stay in the back seat. They must use the proper restraint to keep them safe. 

Note that these are AAP guidelines, not the Texas car seat law. When compared to Texas statutes, the AAP recommendations provide better protection to children. Following the AAP standards will also assist parents and caregivers in remaining in compliance with Texas car seat legislation.

Penalties for Violations of Texas’ Car Seat Laws

Texas law mandates all parents and caregivers to carry small children in car seats that are properly strapped. Fines and penalties will be imposed if this is not followed. In comparison to many other states, Texas has tougher fines and punishments. For example, if a driver breaches these car seat regulations, they will be charged with a misdemeanour. 

The fine ranges from $25 to $250, depending on the severity of the offense. Aside from fines, a traffic ticket will also be issued. But, there is one exception; if all accessible car seats are occupied by small children, the motorist will be spared from paying the traffic penalty price.

when can a child ride in front in texas

In Texas, children under the age of 13 are required to ride in the back seat of a vehicle, unless the vehicle does not have a back seat, the back seats are occupied by other children under the age of 14, or the child is unable to use a seat belt properly due to a medical reason.

Additionally, Texas law requires that children younger than 8 years old, unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches, be secured in a child safety seat, while riding in a vehicle.

It is important to note that these laws are in place to protect the safety of children while riding in a vehicle. It is recommended that parents and caregivers follow these guidelines to ensure the safety of their children.

In conclusion

The state of Texas mandates that all children under the age of eight be fastened in a child safety seat anytime they travel in a vehicle unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches. 

Texas car seat rules and recommendations are in place to protect your child. While every parent tries to drive responsibly, it is difficult to predict how other drivers will act on the road. These requirements must be obeyed in order to keep your child safe, especially in the event of a crash. 

Following these tips can help keep your child safe regardless of the path you choose. Several of these guidelines, such as keeping their infant rear-facing for longer periods of time, maybe extended by parents. The more parents follow the Texas car seat laws, the safer their children will be, even in the case of an accident. 



Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

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Keren Simanova

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren