Correctly installed child safety seats save lives. They offer the best protection for children in the event of a crash. Research shows that safety seats in passenger cars reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers.
Texas requires that everyone riding in a vehicle is buckled up, and children younger than 8 (unless they're taller than 4 feet 9 inches) must be secured in a child safety seat or booster seat.
Most parents believe their children are properly buckled up, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, two out of three safety seats are not used correctly.
Not sure which safety seat is right for your child? Click on the four stages below to find out.
Which seat is right for your child?
All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing safety seat until they are 2 years old, or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their safety seat's manufacturer.
CONVERTIBLE OR FORWARD-FACING SEAT
Any child 2 or older who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for a safety seat, should use a forward-facing safety seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their safety seat's manufacturer. This also applies to any child younger than 2 years who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit of their seat.
FORWARD-FACING OR BOOSTER SEAT
Children whose weight or height exceeds the limit for a forward-facing safety seat should switch to a belt-positioning booster seat. These children should remain in a booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they reach 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for optimal protection.
All children younger than 13 should wear seat belts and ride in rear seats for optimal protection.
Download a PDF guide on choosing and using the best safety seat for your child.