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Florida's Car Seat Laws: What You Should Know

All parents in Florida should familiarize themselves with the laws regarding the use of child safety seats. For example, did you know that all car seats must be crash tested and federally approved before being sold? That is just one of many bits of knowledge Florida parents may not be aware of.

Under The Age Of Eighteen

Passengers under the age of eighteen in Florida are required to wear a safety belt while in the vehicle. The type of seatbelt or harness used depends on the age, height, and weight of the child. If children are not properly secured in the vehicle, the driver may receive a fine for their inability to ensure the safety of their passengers.
Also, all drivers as well as anyone in the passenger seat are required to use a safety belt. Failure to do so can lead to a $30 fine and other fees. It is also recommended, but not required, that all children under the age of twelve remain in the backseat of the vehicle.

Under The Age Of Five

Children five years of age and younger should be sitting in a federally approved child safety seat. Not following this law can result in a $60 fine for the driver as well as three points on their driver's license. Children three years of age and under should have a separate car seat or booster. The proper seat for children depends on their current height and weight.

The Best Practices For Child Safety In Vehicles

Florida's car seat laws aren't as strict as those in other areas and are often considered minimum standards. However, that doesn't mean you should no longer follow the best practices when it comes to securing your children in a vehicle.

A child should remain rear-facing in the vehicle until they are at least two years old or until the maximum height and weight for their car seat has been reached. After the age of two, they can transition to a forward-facing car seat but should use a five-point harness until they are at least five or six years old.

Once they have outgrown their car seat, children should move to a booster seat until they are 4' 9" tall and between the ages of ten and thirteen when they can pass the 5-step test. The 5-step test considers the child's size and ability to stay properly seated. It also takes into account the depth of the vehicle seat and the geometry of the seat belt.

Children should ride safely in the backseat until they are at least thirteen years old. That is the age in which their body may be able to withstand the force of an airbag during an auto collision.

Proper Car Seat Installation

Since each car seat and vehicle is different, the car seat installation varies as well. Read the manual before installing anything. You can also consult with a certified child passenger safety technician from a nearby hospital or the fire department to ensure that the car seat has been properly set up.

Securing your children properly and installing car seats or booster seats carefully are the first steps to keeping your kids safe inside your vehicle. The risk of injury can be reduced when the best practices are followed.

However, even with those precautions, accidents can still happen. If you have any questions on Florida seat belt laws or if you have recently been involved in an auto accident, do not hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you file your claim.