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Safety Belts and Safety Seats

Safety BeltSafety belts save lives. If you're in the front seat during a crash, wearing a safety belt improves your chance of survival by 50 percent. Wearing lap and shoulder belts (combined with air bags) is the most effective way to reduce fatalities and serious injuries in traffic collisions.

Buckle Up

Safety belts are most effective when used properly.

  • Lap belts should fit snugly across the hips, not over the stomach.
  • Shoulder belts go over the shoulder and across the center of the chest.
  • Never tuck a shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back.

Here's the Law

Texas law now requires drivers and all passengers in vehicles to be secured by a safety belt. A safety belt violation can result in fines ranging from $25 to $50, plus court costs.

Any child under the age of 8 must be restrained in an approved child passenger safety seat unless taller than 4 feet, nine inches. The fine is up to $25 for a first offense and $250 for a second subsequent offense.

The law becomes effective on Sept. 1, 2009, but tickets for this offense cannot be issued until June 1, 2010. Police officers are allowed to issue a warning before that date. However, the previous law remains in effect for now and requires children younger than 5 and less than 36 inches in height be in a child safety seat, and tickets can still be issued for this violation.

Safety Seat Guidelines

Safety belts are designed for adults, not children. Use a booster seat to lift your child up and prevent severe injuries in a crash. View an informational video about the proper use of child safety seats.

Please remember the following guidelines when buying the proper seat for your child.

  • Birth-1 Year, Up to 35 Pounds
    • Use a rear-facing seat until your baby reaches the weight limit or height limit of the seat.
    • Secure the chest clip even with your baby's armpits.
    • Fasten harness straps snugly against your baby's body.
  • 1-4 Years, 20 to 40 Pounds
    • Use a forward-facing seat for as long as the safety seat manufacturer recommends it.
    • Fasten harness straps snugly against your child's body.
    • Secure the chest clip even with your child's armpits.
    • Latch the tether strap to the corresponding anchor if your vehicle has one.
  • 4-8 Years, Over 40 Pounds
    • Use a booster seat.
    • Fasten the lap belt across your child's thighs and hips, not stomach.
    • Strap the diagonal belt across the chest to rest on the shoulder, not the neck.

For additional information about child safety seats, call Safe Riders at (800) 252-8255.