The idea of your child being that passenger is scary–considering how delicate and vulnerable babies and young kids can be. When it comes to transporting children in a car, Florida parents usually have a legal responsibility to make sure that safety is a priority.
Today, many cars now come with a three-person backseat, and maybe even multiple rows of them. As a result, many parents may wonder, ‘which seat is the safest for my child while riding in the car?’
Florida’s Car Seat Laws
The State of Florida has specific rules on what car seats are best for babies, toddlers, and young kids, generally depending on their age. You can also refer to guidelines provided by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) to use your child’s weight and height for proper fitting as well.
Related: What Are Florida’s Seat Belt Laws?
Finding the right car or booster seat for your kids is a step in the right direction for safer car travel. But considering where that car seat will be most protected in the event of a crash can be another important safety concern.
Put Children In The Back For Airbag Safety
You will probably find that Florida requires car and booster seats to be placed specifically in the backseat of a car. The reason for this is it protects a child’s body from getting hit by a front airbag deploying.
Depending on the severity of an accident, a car’s airbags may be released from the steering wheel and dashboard on the driver and passenger side in the front. When airbags deploy, they do so usually at a very fast speed and with a lot of force, in order to counteract the forward motion of a body.
As a safety feature, airbags can save lives, but the sheer force of an airbag opening can also cause injuries even to adults. This means that children can be particularly vulnerable to injuries from airbags.
For that reason, under Florida law all car seats, carriage seats, and booster seats should be placed in the backseat of a car so that there is some safety distance as a buffer in case of airbag deployment.
Empty Front Seats Can Save Children’s Lives
Having a person sit in the front seat can actually put your child in greater danger than if that chair is left empty. This is because if a passenger in the front is slammed back in their seat from a collision, a kid behind them can suffer what is called a ‘rear-impact injury’.
Rear impact under these circumstances can cause life-threatening injuries to children, which is well worth avoiding. If the seat in front of a young child must be filled, you may want to have someone who weighs the least amount possible sit there.
Car Seats Should Go In The Middle
According to a published study, the safest place where you can keep a car seat (or a child) is the center of your backseat. Research showed that the middle seat was significantly safer for kids up to 3 years old than the seats on the sides near windows.
Interestingly, many parents end up using the rear passenger side of their vehicle to place their car seats, even though it may not be the safest place in the event of a crash. This location may be popular for its easy accessibility and visibility from the driver’s seat.
In addition, the structure of some cars does not offer a middle backseat. In that case, there would not be a chance of securing that location for a car seat. If you have questions about car seat safety and protecting your family from an accident, speak with a personal injury attorney.
Finding An Accident Injury Attorney
We have seen firsthand how even the most safe, careful drivers can still be injured by a negligent party on the road. In the aftermath of a crash, we believe Fernandez & Hernandez clients can find some comfort in knowing they are represented by experienced and trial-tested advocates.