Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. between the ages of 3 and 14. Unfortunately, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about three out of four car seats are not installed correctly.

The first step in making sure your child is correctly placed in a car seat is figuring out which seat is right for your child. From birth up until a child reaches age one and at least 20 pounds, your child should be in the back seat in a rear-facing car seat. Between ages one and four, your child should ride in a forward facing car seat in the back seat. After your child outgrows that seat (around age 4 and 40 pounds), the child should ride in a booster seat in the back seat. Under Texas law, the child must ride in a booster seat until he or she reaches the age of 8 or is taller than 4’9”.

Besides insuring you have the right type of seat, you should also be sure that the seat you buy is the safest. Purchase one with a five point safety harness. Don’t buy a used seat if you don’t know the history of the seat or if it has visible cracks or a missing label. You may also wish to see the ratings of various car seats at www.nhtsa.gov.

After you make sure you have the right car seat for your child, the next step is to have it properly installed. In Texas, there are Child Passenger Safety Technicians who provide free safety checks and one-on-one training on car seat installation. You can find one at www.texasclickitorticket.com.

Car safety seats are the primary defense we have for our child if we are ever involved in an accident. If you’ve been involved in an accident in the Dallas area, contact Dallas personal injury attorney Kris Barber at 817-527-8833 to learn more about your legal options.