The Texas Department of Public Safety, DPS, has updated their guidelines to help protect our young passengers. As you can see through the link at the bottom of the page, the DPS has 4 phases that help guide you through the safety measures from the time you bring your precious bundle of joy home, through the age of 13.
Phase 1, as they call it, is the rear facing seat phase and should be followed from birth until 35(+) pounds and (+)2 yrs. of age. As I’m sure you have noticed, the car seats that you purchase for your children will have their own set of guidelines that include weight and height limits. I encourage you throughout all 4 phases to keep both the DPS and the Manufacturers guidelines in mind at all times. They should be very similar if not the same at times; however, to keep your children as safe as possible stay within each of the phases as long as you can without switching to the next phase until all height, weight, and age guidelines have been met.
Phase 2, we can turn our children around to be forward facing at this point. It is recommended that once the child has grown past all the required markers for the rear facing seats they then can move onto the forward facing phase and should stay in this phase until they have reached 40-80 pounds and are of (+)4 yrs.
Phase 3, after 4 yrs. and 40-80 pounds our little ones have grown into the booster seat phase. The children
should be properly strapped with a lap and shoulder belt while using the booster seat, and they will stay in this phase until they exceed the 4foot 9inch and 10-12 yr. markers.
Phase 4, this is the final phase which marks your children have grown to be 4’9″(+) and are between the ages of 10 and 12. Still remaining in the backseat until their 13th year, they will use the adult safety belt that we all use in our vehicles. The belt should be positioned low over the hips/tops of their thighs, and should cross the center of their shoulder and chest.
Again, just a reminder, keep our children safe and don’t move onto the next phase without meeting all of the markers I have summed up for you, and keep them in the backseat until they are (+)13 yrs.
If you would like to read these articles in their full context just click on the links I have provided below.
From all of us at Dr. Young’s office, we wish you safe travels!