What you need to know about the new Texas child safety seat laws

Seat belts in cars and trucks are designed to fit and protect adults, not children.  This is why many states like Texas have strict child safety seat laws, intended to protect vulnerable children and babies during a traffic crash.


To ensure that older children are safely buckled into vehicles and protected in the event of an auto accident, Texas lawmakers recently changed the booster seat laws.  However these changes have confused some parents and caregivers, making compliance difficult.  This article explains what you need to know about the new Texas booster seat laws.


What the new law says


  • All children under the age of eight MUST ride in a “child passenger safety seat system”.  A “child passenger safety seat system” is defined as either a traditional car seat with a harness or a booster seat (with a back or without).
  • Children TALLER than 4 feet 9 inches are EXEMPT from the above law – these children do NOT have to ride in a child safety seat, even if they are under the age of 8.
  • Once a child is 8 years old legally they DO NOT have to ride in a child seat or booster.
  • Parents and caregivers MUST follow the install instructions provided by the manufacturer of the safety seat system when installing it in their vehicle.  Make sure you READ and FOLLOW the manufacturer’s instructions when installing your car seat or booster seat!  Be very careful to follow the instructions for WHERE in the vehicle you place the seat and note the height and weight restrictions for your seat.


When the new law will take effect?


Lawmakers built in some time between when the new law takes effect and when it will be enforced.  The purpose of this buffer period is to give parents and caregivers time to get used to and understand the new law.  It also gives parents and caregivers time to buy the appropriate child seat or booster for their child and learn how to use it correctly (i.e. according to the manufacturers instructions).

  • These new laws take effect on September 1, 2009.
  • Police may only issue a WRITTEN or VERBAL WARNING until June 1, 2010.  This means that you will not receive a citation or fine until after this date.
  • As of June 1, 2010 you can be fined $25 for your FIRST OFFENSE and no more than $250 for your SECOND or SUBSEQUENT OFFENSES.


You can read more about Texas car seat and booster seat safety in our article “Is your child really ready for an adult seat belt?” and “How much do you know about new Texas driving laws?”


For help after a Texas automobile accident, please contact the Houston based experienced personal injury attorneys VB Attorneys P.L.L.C.  Our lawyers would be happy to discuss your case for no cost or obligation.


Vuk Stevan Vujasinovic
Experienced Injury Lawyer. First Generation American. Life-Long Texan. Husband. Father.