Keeping children safe is a full-time job for parents. One of the most important parts of this job is keeping children safe in the car. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children. The proper use of car safety seats can save the lives of children. Car seat safety laws vary depending on the jurisdiction, and Florida has specific laws that must be followed to keep your child safe. But these laws may not always go far enough, so we’ve included some recommendations on car safety as well.
Florida Car Seat Law
Florida law requires that children age 5 and under be secured properly in a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device. Children ages 0-3 must be in a car seat, while children 4-5 can be in either a car seat or a booster seat.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used to recommend that parents keep their children in car seats that are rear-facing until the age of 2 years, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for the car seat as specified by the manufacturer. In August of 2018, the AAP changed their guidelines and now recommends that children remain in rear-facing car seats as long as possible. When a child rides rear-facing, the head, neck, and spine are supported by the hard shell of the car seat, and the car seat absorbs most of the crash forces.
The AAP also advises parents to keep children in booster seats until they are at least 8 years old or over 4 feet 9 inches tall. Booster seats help to ensure that the car’s seat belt fits properly and safely over the child’s shoulder and across the lap to provide better protection. Car seats and booster seats should always be installed in vehicles according to the seat’s owner’s manual
Children in the Front Seat
Florida law does not prohibit children from riding in the front seat of a vehicle. However, the CDC recommends that all children aged 12 and under be buckled in the back seat of the vehicle because airbags can be very dangerous for young children causing significant airbag injuries. Buckling children in the middle section of the back seat ensures that they are in the safest spot in the vehicle. Read more on front seat requirements in Florida.
Contact an Experienced Attorney.
We hope you are never involved in an accident, but if you or your child has been injured contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk or call us 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.