Child safety seat unsafe if improperly installed

Published 8:35 am Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Nancy from Nederland asks: Officer Antoine, I have learned so much from this article and I look forward to opening the Tuesday edition of “The News” to see what new you have to say. My daughter reminded me of a ticket she received from you about a year ago. I remember she came home upset because you stopped her and issued her a ticket for “no child safety seat charge.” She and I are still perplexed as to why the ticket was given, if my 2-year-old granddaughter was strapped in the seat facing toward the front and the car seat was strapped to the vehicle seat. She said you could see the handle sticking up on the child seat and that was the primary reason for her being stopped. Can you clear up this misunderstanding? She already paid the ticket, we just want a better understanding as to why.
Answer: Good question, Nancy! The answer is simple: IMPROPER INSTALLATION CAN LEAD TO CITATION! Nancy the ONLY child safety seat that has a handle attached to it is an infant seat, and during the movement of a vehicle the handle MUST be down. If the handle is NOT folded down during the movement on a roadway in Texas ANY officer can issue the operator of the vehicle a citation, even if the seat and infant are correctly secured. Secondly, what I read you say was the infant seat was facing forward which is WRONG! Nancy an infant seat is ONLY designed to face backwards in ANY vehicle. If you face the infant seat forward like your daughter did, that is a violation and that’s why I issued her a citation. Does it seem kind of harsh and unfair? Well maybe. But before you and any reader judge too quickly, may I ask you have you EVER witnessed first-hand a baby or child smashed, drowned, broken, dismembered or because a parent FAILED to PROPERLY secure their babies while operating a motor vehicle that was involved in a crash? Well, I have, as well as many other police officers who have to witness this horrific scenes to innocent children on a DAILY basis. That’s just like an adult who places the shoulder strap under their arm pit because it rubs on their neck. WRONG. If you are not secured in the seat correctly, you can receive a citation as though you don’t have the belt on at all!

There are not charges for improper child seat installation in the Texas Transportation Code: if you don’t secure them right, the law supports that you didn’t secure them at all. So it is best to attend any area Child Safety Seat Checkups that are offered in this area to assure that you are correctly transporting your most precious cargo in your vehicle (your children)! Nancy, I am certified as a National Child Passenger Safety Technician so you and any other reader or grandparent who has concerns as to the safe and correct installation of the seat, I invite and encourage you to come see me. Now if you come see me “first,” NO citations will be issued.
Herman from Groves asks: Officer Antoine, a couple of months ago I witnessed a vehicle crash in front of me. When I approached the car I noticed that the lady was hurt, bleeding from her head and nearly unconscious inside her vehicle. What am I supposed to do in a case like this? I am not a doctor or paramedic so all I could do was speak to her and try to keep her conscious until medical professionals arrived.
Answer: Good question, Herman! I think you responded SUPERBLY! Herman, I’m sure you weren’t paying attention, but you can’t even count the number of motorists that “rubber-necked,” just passed by without even stopping to aid someone who at the time could not help themself. Herman, it makes me smile to hear stories of the selfless acts of good Samaritans like you. I agree with your actions Herman, because you didn’t know the extent of her injuries. Leaving her inside the vehicle and talking to her until medical professionals arrived was worth your weight in gold to HER! Unless exigent circumstances were present like the vehicle was on fire, I believe you acted correctly. Thanks for your caring and rendering aid to the victim of a crash. Now I’m aware that everyone can’t stop at a scene of a crash, but always keep in mind that it could have just as easily been YOU that need
somebody to stop and render aid.
Brice from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, I need an answer and I know I can count on you! Is it illegal to operate a vehicle with the expired inspection tags in Texas? I was stopped in Louisiana and apparently the officer wasn’t aware that Texas had gone to the one sticker system. He must have called someone and confirmed that it was true because he let me go after having me stopped on the side of the road for about 15 minutes. Is it illegal to ride with the bottom sticker expired?
Answer: Good question, Brice! I’m sorry about the inconvenience you experienced on side of the road, because of the change to the one sticker system in Texas that other states may not be up to date on. Brice it is NOT illegal to ride with the expired inspection sticker today, but as YOU can confirm, having the bottom inspection removed may stop confusion elsewhere. There is no violation for leaving the expired inspection sticker on the window.

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop live, on KSAP 96.9 FM, The Breeze radio station, every Tuesday for an hour beginning at 1 p.m. You can also tune in via internet at Call in and ask your question live to Officer Antoine at (409) 982-0247. Email your questions to, or call 409-984-8541 and leave a voice mail, or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop

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