Texas will have new child car seat laws - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/14/09

Texas will have new child car seat laws

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By Brittany Pieper - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Car seats aren't just for your toddlers anymore. A new state law requires children up to age 8 to ride in car seats.

"I'm obviously not looking forward to that. You always kind of wait for the time whenever you can just use the seat belt," said Heather Casebolt who has three children, ages 6 months, 4, and 6. Her 6-year-old daughter got rid of her car seat a few years ago, but soon they'll shop for a new car seat to put her back in.

A new state law requires all children under the age of 8 to ride in a car seat. "The car makers are making seatbelts, and they're only designed for adults, so if you put a small child into the seatbelt system, it's not effective," said Cpl. John Gonzales with the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

Casebolt says the law is a bit of an inconvenience, "It's hard to transfer vehicles and have seats, and stuff like that."

However, Gonzales thinks the new law will reduce the number of children injured in car accidents. "Even here, currently, we've had a lot of crashes where we had children being ejected because they're not in a proper car seat system," he said. Gonzales hopes the cost of buying another car seat won't deter parents from following the new law.  He added that a higher price doesn't mean better performance. For example, a car seat that costs $45 had to pass the same safety test as one that cost $160.

There is an exception to the law. If a child is 4'9" tall, even if they are younger than 8-years-old, they do not have to ride in a car seat because at that height, a seat belt should restrain them.

The law goes into effect on September 1st, but law enforcement says they will issue mostly warnings for the next year. Fines for violating the law will range from $25 to $250.

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