Child Car and Booster Seat Laws
Florida Law requires Children five years and under to be secured correctly in a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device.
Children from birth (ages Zero) to three must be in child restraint device of a separate carrier or a Vehicle Manufacturer’s integrated child seat.
Children age four and five 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 that drivers will use correctly every time. Quite often we see car seats not properly installed or the child not properly secured. It’s not meant to be comfortable; it’s meant to be safe. Let them complain. They’ll get over it faster than an injury.
It is very important to read the car seat’s instruction manual and the portion of your vehicle’s owner manual when you install a car seat. A recent study found nearly 80% were installed wrong!
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.
You can visit a local FHP station to ask a certified trooper to help you inspect your seat. Click here to find the FHP station near you and call to set up an appointment.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration car crashes are the leading cause of death in children one to thirteen. A majority of this death where preventable if the child had been properly restrained. Remember to change out the car seat after an accident at the at-fault parties expense!
There are four types of car seats.
The requirements of your child change as they grow, so do the car seats.
Rear-facing car seat
Is typically used with very young children. It should have a harness and typically has a crash cradle that moves with the child in an accident to reduce injury to the neck and spinal cord. Children tend to outgrow these seats before their first birthday. Check manufactures recommendations. The three common types of car seats in this category are Infant car seat, Convertible seat and all-in-one seat.
Forward-facing car seat
The child is held in place by a harness preferably a five point harness and the seat is locked in to place by a tether that hooks to the car. The three common types of car seats in this category are convertible seat, combination seat and All-in-One Seat.
The booster seat lifts the child up, so that the seat belt is adjusted correctly over your child legs and chest. The four common types of car seats in this category are booster with high back, backless booster seat, All-in-One Sea and Combination seat.
The seat belt should fit the child correctly. It should go across the shoulder and chest and the low belt should go across the thighs. It should not go across your child’s neck or stomach.
Things to know about car seats
If you have been in a car accident you need to replace the car seats in your car even if your children when not in them during the accident.
You should not accept a used car seat or buy a used car seat. You do not know the history of the seat. It could have been in an accident or poorly stored (exposed to the elements). Every year there are advancements made in make child car seats safety.
Car seats are only good for five years. They have an expiration dated on the bottom of the chair.
You should always travel with you child seat. Airlines will let you take them for free of charge. If you plan on renting a car in inside the United States you may be forced to rent a car seat at an average of $25 a day. Some Taxi companies will not transport children unless you have a car seat or request a taxi with one. Neither Uber no Lyft will transport children not in a car seat but did you know that you can order an Uber with a car seat?
You should not put your child in the front seat of a car equipped with air bags.
The Florida Highway patrol has a program to help people who cannot afford a car seat. According to the Florida Highway Patrol “Since 1993, the Florida Highway Patrol has distributed over 30,000 child safety seats paid for by federal monies in an effort to assist needy Florida families who cannot afford to purchase them. FHP is committed to ensuring that all child safety seats distributed are properly installed and used.”
You can have your child seat inspected for correct instillation at Florida Highway patrol office and AAA. Call before you go to any location to see if one needs to make an appointment ahead of time. This link with take you to a list of others that will check for correct installation of your car seat.
Purchasing a child car seat is important and expensive decision to make. Target offers at least one time a year a trade-in event at its stores. They will give you credit towards a new chair from them. On what to buy do your research and go to stores to see what they have. Another question you many have is when do you change the type of car seat you are using?
A pediatrician once told me when I asked about changing my child’s car seat the response was “Do not rush to change your child’s seat. The longer that you can keep them in five point restraint the better it is for your child safety.” Recent studies are confirming this and recent recommendations are for your child to remain rear-facing longer than previously thought.
To check if your vehicle has been issued a safety recall, or to check if a vehicle you want to buy has been issued a recall, please visit http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchSafetyIssues.
To check if your car seat or booster seat has been issued a safety recall, please go to http://www.safercar.gov/parents/CarSeats/Car-Seat-Safety.htm.
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Attorney Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez, LLC in Tampa provides legal representation for families in auto accident injury and wrongful death cases. Our Tampa personal injury attorneys welcome the opportunity to interview with you and your loved ones. We invite you to review our recent results from settlements to trial verdicts. Our qualifications and background are available to you as well. Our Tampa Attorneys Martin Hernandez and Martin Hernandez PA are bilingual as well. Just call us at 813.755.9500 for your free consultation.
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