Child Passenger Safety Information

August 20, 2020
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued recommendations in their November 2018 publication, Pediatrics, addressing best practice when transporting children. This is not a change in Texas statute; however, parents and caregivers are strongly encouraged to follow the new AAP Guidelines (PDF) when transporting children.
  • Child Vehicular Heatstroke Deaths: Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of non-crash-related fatalities among children. Vehicle heatstroke occurs when a child is left in a hot vehicle, allowing for the child's temperature to rise in a quick and deadly manner. In 2019, there were 52 children in the U.S. killed by vehicular heatstroke. For more information on how these deaths can be prevented, visit one of the following sites:
    2020 National Child Passenger Safety Best Practice Recommendations
Phase 1 Rear-Facing Seats Children under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. Use a rear-facing infant or rear-facing convertible safety seat as long as possible, up to the rear-facing height or weight limit of the seat. Properly install according to instructions in owner's manual, rear-facing in the back seat.
Phase 2 Forward-facing Seats When children outgrow the rear-facing safety seat, they should ride in a forward-facing safety seat as long as possible, up to the upper height or weight limit of the harnesses. Properly installed forward-facing in the back seat using the top tether if available. NEVER turn forward-facing before child meets all: AGE/HEIGHT/WEIGHT requirements set by safety seat manufacturer for forward-facing.
Phase 3 Booster Seats Once the child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness and depending upon maturity*, it's time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat. Children can ride in a booster seat with the adult lap and shoulder belt until the adult safety belt will fit them properly.
MUST have a lap/shoulder belt to use a booster seat.

*Behavior maturity required according to booster seat owner's manual
Phase 4 Adult Safety Belt Once children outgrow their booster seat they can use the adult lap/shoulder safety belt if it fits them properly according to the vehicle manufacturer's instructions. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it's safer there.
    Children are better protected the longer they can stay in each phase. Keep children in each seat up to the maximum age/weight/height limits before moving to the next phase. ALL children younger than age 13 years should ride properly restrained in the back seat.


For more information or questions, contact the Texas Department of Public Safety certified Child Passenger Safety Seat Technician Instructor (CPSTI) below:

Lt. Elizabeth Carter, CPSTI - El Paso Area

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