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There is one thing that almost all parents can agree on - installing a child's car seat is not as easy as you would think. I have numerous friends with kids that tell me the seats are not the easiest to figure out and especially when it is your child's safety on the line. In Texas, almost 60% of car seats checked have been installed incorrectly. That is a big number and TxDOT is working to make sure kids are safe when we hit the road.

With social distancing restrictions in place due to the coronavirus, there are not as many opportunities for organizations to hold car seat safety checks and events. That is why TxDOT is offer free seat safety checks virtually. For a one-on-one TxDOT virtual car seat check, families can visit SaveMeWithaSeat.org and enter their zip code to email the nearest TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist for an appointment. Families will need a mobile electronic device with video and audio capabilities, like a cellphone, laptop or tablet. Parents and caregivers can also learn if a child should be in a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat or a booster seat, and get other car seat safety tips by visiting the website.

Sadly, vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children in the nation. In the Amarillo TxDOT District, there were 7 passenger vehicle crashes resulting in 5 serious injuries and 2 fatalities for children younger than 8-years-old. For children ages 8-12, there were 9 passenger vehicle crashes in the Amarillo District, resulting in seven serious injuries and two fatalities.

Remember, Texas law requires all children under 8 (unless they are taller than 4 feet, 9 inches) to be in a car seat whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle. Failure to properly restrain a child can result in a ticket of up to $250. Children under age 13 should ride in the back seat, properly secured in a seat belt or safety seat.