TxDOT Offers Free Child Safety Seat Checks
As part of national Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 14-20, the Texas Department of Transportation reminds drivers that free, year-round child safety seat checks are available at the agency’s 25 statewide district offices. Available by appointment, the safety checks are conducted by certified technicians who can determine if your child is properly buckled into an age- and size-appropriate safety seat.
“The law in Texas requires all children younger than 8-years-old, unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches, to be in a child safety seat whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle,” said John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director. “If they’re not, the driver will be ticketed or fined. For the safety of your child and for your own peace of mind, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of these free safety seat checks.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates roughly 3 out of 4 child safety seats are not used correctly. Common child safety seat mistakes include installing the seat too loosely, putting the harness straps through the wrong slots, leaving harness straps too loose, positioning the chest clip incorrectly and using the wrong seat belt path.
A recently released study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute reports nearly 40 percent of children riding in Texas vehicles are either improperly buckled or not buckled at all. The study, conducted in the spring of 2014, observed more than 13,500 Texas children across 14 cities. Of the children observed, 61 percent were properly buckled into a safety seat while 25 percent were not. Another 14 percent of children in Texas vehicles were not buckled at all.
TxDOT encourages drivers to always refer to their specific child safety seat manufacturer’s manual for instructions on how to install the safety seat. Read the vehicle owner’s manual to find information on the proper placement of the safety seat and for proper use of the seat belt or LATCH system.
Drivers can find the location of the nearest TxDOT child safety seat specialist by texting the word “seat” and their ZIP code to 876526. Drivers also can visit www.SaveMeWithASeat.com to find out what type of safety seat their children need.