What Is The Child Seat Law In Florida?
- Marvin Harvey
For more resources, visit the main Child Safety web page. Children should always be buckled up or in a proper child restraint, and everyone should be buckled up for safety. Read on to make sure you know the Florida safety belt law and important safety tips for children of all ages. Safety Belts
Florida law requires the use of seat belts or child restraint devices by drivers of motor vehicles, all front seat passengers and all children riding in a vehicle under 18. Florida’s safety belt law is a primary enforcement law, meaning that an officer can stop a vehicle and issue a citation simply for observing a safety belt or restraint violation. Children should be in the rear seats until at least age 12, since deployed front seat air bags can be dangerous to children.
Child Restraints – Car Seats and Booster Seats
Florida law requires children age 5 and under to be secured properly in a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device. Children ages 0 through 3 must be in child restraint devices of a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat. Children age 4 through 5 must be in a separate carrier, integrated child seat or booster seat. The best child seat is one that fits your child, fits your car and is used properly every time you drive. Read the car seat’s instruction manual and the portion of your vehicle’s owner manual when you install a car seat. Remember to check for car seat and booster seat recalls, Refer to the official Florida Driver License Handbook for more information on seat belts and child restraints.
Resources Florida Child Passenger Safety Seat Fitting Stations by County Florida Statute on Child Restraint Requirements National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Parent Resources How to Find the Right Car Seat Choose the Right Seat Flyer
What are the height and weight requirements for a booster seat in Florida?
A new car seat law in Florida extends the child passenger safety restraint requirements from children younger than 4 years old to every child under the age of 6. The change on January 1, 2015 is aimed at keeping more kids safe and lowering Florida’s rank as the sate with the highest car accident-related injury and fatality rates for children in the 4 to 10 age group.
In June 2014, Governor Scott signed House Bill 225 to increase the age of children required to be in a car seat or booster seat while in the car. Effective January 1, 2015, any child under the age of 6 must be restrained in a car seat or booster seat. While the law outlines when a child must be in a car seat or booster, the type of seat depends the individual child’s height and weight.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides a Car Seat Finder that uses a child’s birthday, weight and height to recommend the best seats for that child. The chart below outlines the age-based guidelines. Children under the age of 2 should always be transported in a rear-facing car seat. It’s the safest option for a child, and parents should use a rear-facing car seat as long as possible. Transition to a forward-facing car seat when the rear-facing car seat’s height and weight limit set by the manufacturer has been exceeded.
The move from a car seat to a booster seat is based on a child’s height and weight, but maturity can also be a factor. A booster seat helps the vehicle’s seat belt fit properly, and booster seats don’t have a harness like car seats do. The child must be able to understand that they have stay in the booster seat and keep the seat belt buckled.
Seat belts are designed to protect adults with a medium build, which does not often match the size of young children. Children should stay in a booster seat until they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches and weigh more than 80 pounds. Check the fit of a seat belt – correctly positioned, the lap belt should sit across the upper thighs, not the stomach, and the shoulder belt should cross the chest, not the neck.
Does a 5 year old need a booster seat in Florida?
Failure to follow these laws could result in a $60 fine and three points against the supervising adult’s driver’s license. Florida law states: Children five years old or younger must be secured in a federally approved child restraint system.
When can a child legally sit in the front seat in Florida?
Defective Child Car Seats Can Cause Serious Injuries to Children – In the unfortunate event of being involved in an accident, parents should know that even a minor accident can affect the child’s car seat, and they are advised to replace it. What can happen to a child car seat after a minor car accident:
The structural integrity and overall safety of the car seat may be compromised Parts may have been dislodged or loosened
Even if the damage is not visible to the naked eye, it is generally recommended that you replace the safety seat after a car crash. A seat involved in a car accident may not have distinguishable signs of damage, but it surely will not be as effective in a future car crash.
- Also, a damaged part of the car seat may endanger your child’s life.
- The car seats should be replaced even if the child was not sitting in them during the accident.
- The impact during a car crash could cause severe damage to the seat, and if you continue to use it, your kid will likely get hurt at a second impact.
If your child was seriously injured in a car accident and the injuries were caused by manufacturing mistakes or lack of seat installation guidelines, an experienced lawyer can help you build and win a product liability case. Call us today for a free case evaluation.
In Florida, safety belt fines are $30 plus other legal assessments, while the fine for child restraint violations consists of $60 and losing 3 points from the driver’s license. The penalties applied for safety belt violations tend to be lower than those for child restraints. The fines vary in each state and typically range from $25 to $500; child seat violations can also be waived if the driver purchases and installs an approved child restraint system.
FLORIDA CHILD CAR SEAT LAW
Yes. All front-seat passengers must buckle up at any age, especially those under 18, regardless of where they are located inside the vehicle. Drivers will be charged with a safety belt violation if any of their passengers under 18 are not restrained with a seat belt or child restraint system.
Child restraint devices that meet current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 and are used according to the instructions of the vehicle owner’s manual and child restraint manufacturer are the safest. The Florida Department of Transportation supports the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regarding child safety restraints.
Rear-facing seats should have the hardness straps at shoulder level or below, whereas front-facing seats should have the straps positioned at or above the shoulders. The chest clip should be placed in line with the child’s armpits, over the breastbone.
- Take extra time when placing your child in their car seat, and double-check that it’s installed properly and your child is securely restrained.
- Read your manufacturer’s recommendations thoroughly to ensure you are using the safety seat correctly.
- After reading the car manual and safety seat instructions and installing the safety seat according to the recommended standards, you should further have a certified technician inspect it.
Inspection Stations can be found through the Child Car Seat Inspection Station Locator, where Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will inspect the child safety seat and instruct you on installing and using it properly. Florida Law is very strict in child passenger safety regulations, and certain age and weight limits are imposed for children in a moving vehicle.
What happens if a child is not in a car seat in Florida?
What are the penalties for not using a seat belt in Florida? – Parents who do not follow the Florida law regarding child restraint systems in their vehicle can face a $60.00 fine and three points against their driver’s license. However, the monetary and license points are the least severe consequences a parent can face.
- By not using an appropriate child safety system inside a vehicle, a parent is placing their child at high risk of injury or death in the event of an accident.
- The Centers for Disease Control says that there were 723 children 12 and under that died in vehicle crashes during the latest reporting year.128,000 children were injured in vehicle crashes that year.
Closer to home, there were 130,114 children in vehicle crashes in Florida in 2018. Out of those, there were:
18,579 possible injuries 1,247 serious bodily injuries 155 fatalities
It is not uncommon for us to see the following injuries in children in the aftermath of a crash.
Broken and dislocated bones Severe lacerations Internal organ damage Internal bleeding Spinal cord injuries Whiplash injuries Traumatic brain injuries Concussions