What are the Florida car seat laws?
In recognition of the continued importance of keeping our children safely secured when riding in cars, this blog will examine the current child car seat safety laws in Florida. Learn them as best you can, as they could mean the difference between life and death (and because they are the LAW)!
Every year, children who are improperly restrained while riding in a car, die in accidents. Between the years 2002-2011, over 9,000 children under the age of twelve have died this way, according to studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Based on the same research, it has been concluded that approximately one in three children killed in crashes in 2011 were not buckled up.
Age- and size-appropriate car seats are proven to save young lives during car accidents, and because of this, in the state of Florida, the use of child car seats is mandatory for all children (based on certain age and weight guidelines).
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, these are the most current and up-to-date laws regarding car seats for Florida:
“It is the responsibility of the supervising adult to ensure that any child under 5 years old is seated in a federally-approved child car seat. Failure to do so could result in a $60 fine and 3 points against your driver’s license.
January 2015 Florida car seat law states
- Children 5 years old or younger must be secured in a federally approved child restraint system
- Children 3 years old and younger must use a separate car-seat or the vehicle’s built-in child seat
- Children 4 through 5 years must sit in either a separate car seat, a built-in child seat or a seat belt, depending on the child’s height and weight
- Children 6 through 17 years old must be in a seat belt
Never put your child in a child car seat in the front of a vehicle with a passenger airbag. It is always safest for your child to ride in the back seat.”
Several additional guidelines, provided by the Sheriff’s Office of Broward Country:
- If a safety belt does not fit the child correctly, a booster set should be used to correctly position the lap and shoulder belts once they outgrow forward facing child safety seats (generally at about 40 pounds and 4 years old)
- Children from approximately 40-80 pounds and under 4’9″ in height should ride in a booster seat
- Infants must ride rear-facing until they are at least one year old and weigh 20 pounds or more
- Rear-facing, the infant should be semi-upright at an angle or no more than 45 degrees
- A forward-facing older child should ride sitting upright
Lastly, according to the CDC, the use of restraints among young children is often dependent on the seat belt use of the driver. Almost 40% of children riding with unbelted drivers were themselves unrestrained.
Proper car restraint safety starts with YOU! Your small children will not remind you to buckle up nor will they remind you to properly restrain them. It is up to you to follow the state of Florida’s car seat safety laws and seat belt laws, for the protection of you and your family. And don’t forget, if one of your children is injured in an accident, and you believe a faulty car seat contributed to your child’s injuries, you need to reach out to an experienced Gross & Schuster Attorney right away.