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The Center for Children's Health

Car Seat Safety

Vehicle Safety

Car crashes are a leading cause of injury and death in children. Every year children are rushed to the emergency room to be treated for car related injuries. Some injuries occur without the car ever leaving the driveway.


Free car seat checks

Safe Kids North Texas - Fort Worth offers events where you can make an appointment with a certified technician. We offer FREE car seat checks and assistance to families who may need a car seat.

Please click the link below or call 682-885-2634 to book your appointment. Those without appointments will be seen on a first come/first serve basis. You MUST have your child with you, unless you are an expectant parent.

Book your appointment


Four stages of car seats

Rear facing is the first stage of a car seat for growth of infants through preschoolers. This stage supports their head, neck, and back while riding in a vehicle, until they meet the maximum age, weight, and height of their car seat.

Forward facing is the second stage of a car seat for growth of preschooler through school age children. Children should remain in a forward facing car seat, with a 5-point harness until they meet the maximum age, weight, height, and maturity before moving to a booster seat.

Booster seats are the third stage of a car seat and are an important stage in child restraints, yet they are often skipped over. Children who have outgrown a harnessed car seat and do not yet fit safely behind a lap-shoulder belt should ride in a booster seat.

Learn more about when and how children should ride in a booster seat:

A seat belt is the final stage of riding safely. The safest time to transition to a seat belt is when the child is at least 4ft 9in or 57 inches tall. Important requirements for this stage are that the lap belt crosses at the hips and not the stomach, the shoulder strap should not rub the neck, the child sits back in the seat with knees bent over the edge of the seat, their feet lay flat on the floor, and their head is supported by a head rest.


Top tips

Texas law requires all children to ride in a federally approved car seat or booster seat made for their weight and height, until they are 8 years old unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches.

It is important to know the history of your child's car seat in case of the following:

  • Crash – Car seats need to be replaced after most crashes. Check with your car seat manufacturer for guidance.
  • Recall – Visit https://www.carseat.org/for the latest car seat recalls.
  • Expiration date – Check your car seat labels and owner's manuals to see when your car seat expires.
  • Sizing – Every car seat is different, be sure to check your car seat labels and owner's manuals for the height, weight, and age requirements.
  • Other – Borrowed and second hand car seats can often be cracked or have other unknown defects that effect safety.

Heatstroke is when a person's temperature exceeds 104 degrees. Never leave your child alone in a car.

Safe Kids North Texas – Fort Worth wants to make sure child heatstroke deaths do not happen in our community. If you see a child unattended in a car, please call 9-1-1.

Common circumstances:

  • Forgotten by caregiver – When caregivers have a change in their daily routine, children may be left in the car.
  • Gained access – Children often climb into cars and become trapped if the doors are left unlocked.
  • Knowing left – Caregivers may choose to leave kids in the car while running a quick errand.

Facts:

  • Young children are particularly at risk of heatstroke because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult's.
  • It takes only 10 minutes for the inside of a car to heat up by 20 degrees and it continues to heat up quickly even if a window is cracked.

Prevention: A-C-T.

  • Avoid heatstroke.
    Never leave a child alone in a car, not even for a minute.
    Lock your parked car so a child cannot easily gain access without an adult.
  • Create reminders.
    Create a habit of checking the back seat after each ride by routinely leaving your cell phone, purse or briefcase in the back.
    Listen to vehicle or phone reminders for drivers to check for children in the back.
  • Take action.
    If you see a child alone in a car, call 9-1-1. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations.

Heatstroke resources:

Toddlers and children want to explore. Be sure to check around the car for kids before you get in your car.

  • Slow down - Caregivers are often in a hurry, take a few seconds to walk around the car to check for kids nearby.
  • Walk around - Check for anything that could attract a child, such as a pet, bike or toy that may be near the vehicle before getting in.
  • Play space - Identify a safe play area for children to use far away from parked or moving vehicles.

Keep your child safe while transitioning from passenger to driver.


Educational resources

Items to request

  • Child passenger safety brochure (4 stages of car seats)
  • Appointment cards
  • Heatstroke cards
  • Measuring tapes
  • Silicone bracelets

Request items

Parent resources

Organizational/partner resources

Additional Car Seat Programs


Community events


Questions or comments

If you have any questions or would like more information about our program, please email safe.kids@cookchildrens.org.