Texas

Texas Pediatricians Group Disagrees With Governor Concerning Child Car Safety Seats

A group of pediatricians says it will keep working to strengthen Texas laws on child safety seats. This comes after the governor vetoed regulations for child passengers under the age of two.

Under current Texas law, children under the age of eight have to ride in a safety seat that’s installed according to manufacturers’ instructions. But Gov. Greg Abbott has vetoed a bill that would have required kids under two to ride in a rear-facing seat.

HB 448 was authored by Grand Prairie Democrat Chris Turner who said he wanted to strengthen current state law governing child safety seats.

In explaining his veto of the bill, Abbott released a statement calling the measure “an unnecessary invasion of parental rights and an unfortunate example of over-criminalization.”

Currently 14 states have laws addressing rear-facing seats. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends young children ride in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible and those recommendations are also included on the Texas Department of Public Safety website.

Dr. Ben Raimer with the Texas Pediatric Society said his group is also working toward stronger regulations on the use of car seats.

“That car seat acts as a shield and protection unit,” said Raimer. “As a pediatrician we all have our horror stories that we carry around with us and that’s what makes us stop a moment and talk to parents about proper use of a car seat. I just can’t tell you how important it is to follow those American Academy of Pediatrics standards.”

Raimer said they’re willing to address Abbott’s concerns about creating new regulations.

“Experience has shown us that sometimes the state government needs to pass laws to promote better buy-ins and facilitate the adoption of evidence-based practices as children progress toward their adulthood,” said Raimer. “We do want a way of collaborating with our government to introduce best safety practices into what we do in Texas.”

Raimer said there are many resources around the state to help new parents install their safety seats correctly, including law enforcement agencies and children’s healthcare facilities.

What else was vetoed?

Abbott vetoed a total of 58 bills that lawmakers passed during this year’s legislative session. In addition to HB 448, here are some of the other bills that were vetoed:

Nancy Sims, a University of Houston lecturer and political analyst, and UH political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus spoke with Houston Matters about why some bills might not have made the cut. Listen to the full conversation in the audio below:

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Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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