We know you always obey the seat belt law and buckle up, but just in case you need some encouragement, the annual Click it or Ticket campaign starts Monday, and officers will be looking to hand tickets to unbuckled folks.

Have you known someone who didn't wear a seat belt and died in a car accident?  I have.

A high school acquaintance of mine was headed home one summer night, driving alone up on a raised road that bordered a golf course when she lost control of the vehicle.  She was not wearing a seat belt and was partially ejected when the car turned on its side and slid down the embankment about half way.  When police officers got there they found that she had died several yards from the wreckage, after trying to crawl to find help.  It wasn't a highly traveled area and it was dark, and the mangled car wasn't discovered until several hours later by someone who was passing by.  No one can be sure that a seat belt would have saved her life, but it would have helped.

Do you buckle up?  I do.  But I get confused about the rules that apply to car seats and booster seats.  My three girls are between the ages of 5 and 9, and I'm not really sure when I'm supposed to graduate them to the next level of safety seat so I did some research to save us some worry, and a fine.

According to TxDot:

Infants and toddlers need the rear-facing seat until they're 2.

Any child 2 or older should use a forward-facing safety seat with a harness up to the highest weight or height allowed by their safety seat's manufacturer. 

The next stage is the booster seat with a belt, and kids should stay in that as long as the belt fits properly, which is typically when they reach 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years old.

When the lap belt hits kids properly across the shoulder, they can sit on the seat with no booster, and they should ride in the back seat until they're 13.

Officers will be watching next week to make sure the kids are buckled up like they should be, and they'll be looking to make sure that shoulder strap is holding in drivers and passengers too.

The annual Click it or Ticket campaign runs from May 22 through June 4.

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