According to the National Institutes of Health, car accidents are the leading cause of death in children and teens. While parents are aware of the importance of child seats, there are a shocking number that are using them incorrectly and unaware of the Florida child seat laws.
To protect children, Florida child seat laws can affect parents, especially if they are unaware of the on going changes. Using an inappropriate car seat can still result in a fine and points against your driver’s license or even worse your child being injured. Therefore, never assume that just because you have a car seat you are in the clear.
Read more about what to do if you or your child is injured as a passenger in a car accident.
The Florida Child Seat Laws
As the supervising adult or the adult driving the vehicle, you are responsible for adhering to the car seat laws. You must also ensure that any child under seven years old is using a federally-approved car seat while in the vehicle. Failure to follow any child seat law could result in a $60 fine and three points against your license per offense.
The Florida law states that:
• Children 3 years and younger must use a separate car seat;
• Children 4 to 7 years who are less than 4 feet and 9 inches must sit in a separate car seat system;
• Children 7 years old or younger must be secured in a federally-approved restraint system.
But, because this law can be misleading or confusing, parents and supervising adults are urged to follow the car seat guidelines listed by the FLHSMV any time a child is riding in the vehicle with you. These include:
0 to 1 Years (and 20 lbs or Less) – Use a rear-facing car seat that is in the back of the vehicle.
1 to 4 Years (and 20 to 40 lbs.) – Use a rear-facing car seat in the backseat until the child outgrows the maximum weight capacity of that seat.
4 to 8 Years (and 40 lbs or more, 4’9” tall) – Forward-facing car seats are acceptable in the backseat until the child reaches the acceptable front seat weight listed by your manufacturer. Use a booster seat to ensure the seat belt is at the proper height on your child’s chest and shoulder.
8 to 12 Years (and 4’9” or more) – Use a booster seat until your child is tall enough for the seat belt system to fit. At 13 years old, your child may sit in the front seat as long as he or she meets the weight requirement listed by your manufacturer.
Although Florida law does not mandate the use of a booster seat, experts recommend that you continue until the child is at least four feet, nine inches (4’9”) tall.
13 Years and Above-Children ages 13 and up can by law ride in either the front or back seat but the back seats are always safest.
Was Your Child Injured Due to Someone Else’s Negligence?
If your child was hurt because of someone else’s negligence—whether from driving or car seat use—you deserve a settlement for your pain and suffering as well as the medical bills associated with your child’s accident. Contact the team of West Palm Beach car accident attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. today for a free consultation.