Texas Car Seat Laws (2022) – Rules to Secure A Child Properly

If you’re finding Texas car seat laws in 2022, you’re right here.

According to Texas State Law, all children younger than 8 years old must be secured in a child safety seat whenever they ride in a vehicle unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches.

Older children who have outgrown a booster seat must be buckled with a seat belt.

Here in this guide for Texas child seat laws, we try to provide as many details as possible to explain the Texas car seat laws on booster seat age and height requirements, rear-facing and forward-facing rules, and when a child can sit in the front seat in Texas

Overview of Texas Car Seat Laws 2022

Texas Legislature in Sec. 545.412. (a) on Child Passenger Safety Seat System reads: “A person commits an offense if the person operates a passenger vehicle, transports a child who is younger than eight years of age, unless the child is taller than four feet, nine inches, and does not keep the child secured during the operation of the vehicle in a child passenger safety seat system.”

Texas State Regulations

The child seat laws go into three car seat stages – rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster. So we also talk about Texas car seat laws in these three categories.

Can’t wait to know the Texas booster seat laws. Just click the booster field below.

Rear-Facing

Texas Rear-facing Car Seat Laws

Forward-Facing

Texas Forward facing Car Seat Rules

Booster

Texas Booster Seat Laws

Texas Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

Texas law does not say anything about rear-facing car seats, but the Texas Department of Transportation indicates the rule – children under 2 years of age should travel in a rear-facing car seat.

Birth to two years old: All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years old, or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their safety seat's manufacturer.

Texas Department of Transportation

The best practice is to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible until they reach the upper weight or height limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer.

1st Car Seat Stage - Rear Facing

Under 2 years old

Car seat height and weight limits

BEST REAR-FACING CAR SEAT

RF: 4-50 lbs/ 49″

Extended RF

Graco Extend2Fit

$234.99

RF: 4-30 lbs/ 30″

Best for Preemie

Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat
Chicco KeyFit 30

$199.99

RF: 4-35 lbs/ 32″

Best for Travel

Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller
Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller

$550

Texas Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

2nd Car Seat Stage - Forward Facing

Over two years old: Any child two or older who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for a car seat, should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat's manufacturer. This also applies to any child younger than two years who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit of their seat.

Texas Department of Transportation

When can baby face forward in car seat 2022 Texas?

Texas car seat law does not state requirements on forward-facing either. The Texas Department of Transportation implements the regulations.

Children two years or older must travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness, in the back seat, after they outgrow the rear-facing seat limit.

The limits for rear-facing car seats vary depending on the car seat types.

Infant car seats are typically designed for newborn babies, while convertible and all-in-one car seats are friendly for toddlers around 2-4 years old, thanks to their higher weight and height limits.

2 years or older

Car seat weight and height limits

BEST FRONT-FACING CAR SEAT

FF: 22-65 lbs/ 49″

Graco Extend2Fit

$234.99

FF: 22-65 lbs/ 49″

Graco SlimFit LX 3-in-1 Car Seat
Graco SlimFit

$219.99

FF: 22-65 lbs/ 49″

KidsEmbrace Spider Man Car Seat - 2-in-1 Harness Booster
KidsEmbrace Spiderman

$199.99

Texas Booster Seat Laws

What are the height and weight requirements for booster seats in Texas?

After a child exceeds the weight or height limit for the forward-facing car seat, according to the rules provided by the Texas Department of Transportation, they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until they reach 4 feet 9 inches in height and between 8 and 12 years of age.

In this law states, you’ll find that two of the three common requirements – age and height are mentioned, and weight is not a leading requirement in a booster seat.

Ages four to eight years old: Children whose weight or height exceeds the limit for a forward-facing car seat should switch to a belt-positioning booster seat. These children should remain in a booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they reach 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between eight and 12 years of age.

Texas Department of Transportation

Does my 9-year-old need a booster seat in Texas?

Depends. If your 9-year-old is over 4 feet 9 inches in height, the vehicle seat belt may fit them well for security, so they don’t need a booster. Otherwise, it’s best to keep them in a booster seat for better protection.

Does my 8-year-old need a booster seat in Texas?

This is the same as the above question. It depends on your child’s height, which is the deciding factor for getting out of a booster.

Does a 6-year-old need a car seat in Texas?
Yes, absolutely.

Age for Booster Seat in Texas

Texas booster seat law does not mention the age rule.

It’s the Texas Department of Transportation supplement the Texas laws on booster seats, saying that child under 8 years old should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat.

Weight and Height for Booster Seats Texas

4 feet 9 inches appear in the Texas child seat laws, according to the government regulations. But it’s not specified about the booster.

The Texas Department of Transportation explains with more details on booster seat height requirements – it’s 57-inch as well.

No weight requirement on booster seats in Texas. 

under 8 years old

under 4’9″ tall

BEST BOOSTER SEAT

Booster: 40-100 lbs/ 57″

Graco TurboBooster

$29.99

Booster: 40-100 lbs/ 57″

Chicco GoFit Plus Backless Booster
Chicco GoFit Plus

$59.99

Booster: 40-100 lbs/ 57″

Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 Harness Booster Seat
Graco Atlas Harness Booster

$139.99

Texas Seat Belt Laws for Child

allows a child who is younger than 17 years of age and who is not required to be secured in a child passenger safety seat system under Section 545.412(a) to ride in the vehicle without requiring the child to be secured by a safety belt, provided the child is occupying a seat that is equipped with a safety belt.

Texas Seat Belt Laws Sec. 545.413

According to the Texas Legislature in Sec. 545.413 on safety belts, the law requires that children under 17 years old should be secured in a safety seat belt.

Checklist to know if the seat belt fits your child or not:

  • The child’s knees bend over the edge of the vehicle seat cushion and feet should rest flat on the floor.
  • The child is sitting with their back against the seat and not slouching.
  • The shoulder belt rests across their chest midway between the shoulder and neck.
  • The lap belt fits low and snug across the hips, touching the upper thighs.

at least 8 years old

under 17 years of age

57 inches or taller

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Texas

The rule in Sec. 545.412 (b) indicates clearly that violating the law in Texas state can result in a ticket of up to $250.

Texas Car Seat Laws Apply for

Drivers who ride with a child are responsible for keeping the child in an appropriate child restraint system.

Exceptions

(1) operating a vehicle transporting passengers for hire, excluding third-party transport service providers when transporting clients pursuant to a contract to provide non-emergency Medicaid transportation; or

(2) transporting a child in a vehicle in which all seating positions equipped with child passenger safety seat systems or safety belts are occupied.

Texas Front Seat Laws

When can a child sit in the front seat in Texas?

According to the Texas child seat laws, there is no specific age requirement when a child can sit in the front.

Texas Department of Public Safety says that children are ready for a car’s adult seat belt at the age of 12.

According to AAP and other experts, this can be a good time for your child to start traveling in the front seat.

Not specified

Taxi Car Seat Law in Texas

Taxis are not required to follow the Texas law with a saying that child restraint law doesn’t apply to “vehicles transporting for hire”.

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in Texas Law

Birth to two years old:

All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years old, or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their safety seat’s manufacturer.

Over two years old:

Any child two or older who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for a car seat should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer. This also applies to any child younger than two years who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit of their seat.

Ages four to eight years old:
Children whose weight or height exceeds the limit for a forward-facing car seat should switch to a belt-positioning booster seat. These children should remain in a booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they reach 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between eight and 12 years of age.

Best Car Seats for Travel in Texas

Based on the Texas child car seat laws, here are the best car seats that will ride your boys or girls safely without breaking the rules.

To help parents quickly find the best option based on your child’s current age.

Birth - 2 Years

30-lb rear-facing maximum weight

Further Information

Best Car Seats for One Year Old

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

This convertible car seat is great enough to meet the parent’s need to ride their kids in the rear- and front-facing for a longer time. It features 50-lb rear-facing weight limit to be one of the best rear-facing car seats for 2 years old.

When using it facing front, the 65-lb weight limit makes it go through the preschool ages – 3 years old, 4 years old, and 5 years old.

Graco Extend2Fit

The Good
The Bad

Birth - 4 Years

The Good
Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat

Chicco NextFit Zip

The Good
The Bad

4-8 Years

All 50 US States Car Seat Laws

FAQs on Texas Child Seat Laws

What is the age and weight for a booster seat in Texas?

According to Texas car seat laws and the rules from the Texas Department of Transportation on booster seats, children under 8 years old are required to ride in a booster seat until they reach 57 inches tall.

No weight requirement is mentioned in the laws. But kids will typically need to use a booster seat until they are 4 foot 9 inches tall and weigh anywhere between 80 and 100 pounds. 

How old do you have to be to not sit in a car seat in Texas?

Texas laws require children under 8 years old and less than 57 inches tall to ride in a child safety seat.

According to Texas seat belt laws, all children under 17 years old must be secured in a safety belt or child safety seat, whether they are sitting in the front seat or back seat.

To be summarised, a child is regally approved to get out of a car seat on their 8th birthday or when they’re 4’9″ tall.

What is the law in Texas for rear facing car seats?

According to the Texas Department of Transportation about Rear-Facing Car Seats

All infants and toddlers in Texas should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are two years old, or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their safety seat’s manufacturer.

Can my 9 year old ride in the front seat in Texas?

There is no law in Texas that specifies when a child can sit in the front seat.

However, the law requires that all child safety seat systems must be used according to the owner’s manual. Most vehicle manufacturers require and recommend keeping all children 12 years and younger in the back seat.

How much is a ticket for a child without car seat in Texas?

In Texas, the law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up or face fines and court costs of up to $200.

Children younger than 8 years must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they’re taller than 4 feet 9 inches. If they aren’t properly restrained, the driver faces fines of up to $250, plus court costs.

Can you use an expired car seat in Texas?

While there is no specific Texas car seat law that forbids using an expired car seat, state regulations do require you to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

While all the manufacturers will have an expiration date on the car seat or you can find it in the user manual.

Typically, car seats between 6 to 10 years. So, be aware that safety seats expire after 6-10 years from the date when they are manufactured.

Car Seat Safety Tips and Guides​

Sources