Proposed Texas Law Would Extend Car Seat Use, Protect Kids

Babies to Remain in Rear-Facing Car Seats for Another Year

Texas Representative Chris Turner from here in Tarrant County has proposed a law that would extend the amount of time babies remained in rear-facing car seats by one year. House Bill 955 mandates use of the rear-facing car seats until the baby is two years old or until she or he outgrows the weight and height limits of car seats.

In his press release, Rep. Turner explained the purpose of the new car seat legislation:

“Keeping kids safe should always be our top priority. This bill will help inform parents and others about car seat safety and the need to keep children rear-facing longer.”

Law Reflects American Academy of Pediatrics Car Seat Recommendations 

The proposed legislation mirrors the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations for car seat use. The AAP updated its guidelines in April 2011 to clarify common confusions.

Previously, the child safety organization advised parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats until they reach the maximum limit for the car seat. However, in the past, the AAP also suggested parents could at minimum flip the seat to front facing once their children reach one year of age and 20 lbs. Many pediatricians and parents interpreted this recommendation as being the best time to turn the seat around as opposed to the minimum point for doing so.

The AAP now recommends parents make the switch at either two years old or upon reaching the limits of the car seat.

75 Percent Less Likely to Die or Sustain Serious Injuries

Why are these new guidelines so important? The statistics would convince any parent. According to a 2007 study published in Injury Prevention journal, a child who is younger than two who is strapped into a rear-facing car seat is 75 percent less likely to die or be seriously injured during an auto accident.

Pediatric emergency physician Dennis Durbin explains to Parenting magazine why the rear-facing car seat is best:

“A rear-facing child safety seat does a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash, because it distributes the force of the collision over the entire body,”

Restrain Children Properly 

Special child seat safety guidelines apply to children under the age of 12. You can minimize potential injuries to your child by knowing the stages of safe restraint and how to properly strap your child in:

  • Birth to 2 years: Rear-facing car seat, unless the child reaches height and weight limits
  • 2 years to 5 years: Forward-facing car seat, or until the child reaches height and weight limits
  • 5 years until seat belt fits: Booster seat
  • Once seat belt fits until age 12: Properly belted in the back seat

Watch the instructional video on choosing and installing a car seat.

Bill Berenson Supports the New Child Safety Seat Legislation 

Even after 35 years of exclusively handling auto and truck crash recovery claims, the loss of a young child seems incomprehensible. House Bill 955 will give parents the guidance they need to protect their children from serious harm. I support this important legislation.

If your child has been injured in a car or truck crash, I can investigate whether the driver, automaker or car seat manufacturer is responsible and hold the negligent person or corporation accountable for the damages. Contact my Dallas-Fort Worth law office for a free case evaluation at 1-888-801-8585 or locally at 817-885-8000.

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