Insurance and Finance

Why your child hasn’t outgrown a car seat

By Rachel Elmalawany 8.19.13

We all know that babies need car seats, and toddlers need booster seats in the car. However, as laws changed, many of us may have it all wrong, not realizing that with legislative changes regarding child restraint systems in 2009, our pre-teens may be still need a booster seat and our little tots need more for protection against an auto accident.

Here’s the Scoop:

Children need booster seats until they are 4’9″. It’s the law. Children under age 8 years should be in a booster seat or child restraint device unless they’ve already reached a height of 4-feet-9-inches. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a restraint system on children up to 4’9″. If you get pulled over, and it isn’t a medical emergency, you can receive a fine of $25 to $250 regardless of whether or not it’s your first offense.

There are different national recommendations for infant and toddler seats. The American Academy of Pediatrics now suggests children stay rear facing until age 2, or as long as possible, until their neck muscles and spinal column strengthen and are more capable of taking on an impact. If you need advice on installation, contact a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.

The back seat is the safest. Mom was absolutely right. The back seat is the safest place in a vehicle. Once children outgrow the 4-foot-9-inch requirement, vehicle manufacturers suggest they stay in the back seat as long as possible, up to age 13. Beth Warren, Public Education Coordinator for the Department of Public Safety says you wouldn’t allow your child to play sports in adult protective gear because it simply wouldn’t fit. Since vehicle restraint systems are designed for adults, children under 4’9″ needs restraint systems designed for youth.

If it’s time for you to update your car seats or carriers, take advantage of Texas Farm Bureau member benefits with the Child-Saver Program. Members can order child car seats or booster seats directly from the manufacturer at a discounted rate.