Florida’s 2012 Children’s Car Seat and Safety Requirements

According to Car-Safety.org, the number one cause of fatal injuries to children in Florida is car crashes. That is why our Broward County personal injury law firm believes that the protection and safety of children is of paramount importance.

Florida Statute §316.613 is the Florida Child Safety Seat Law and it has very specific requirements regarding the proper use of child restraints and seat-belts.

Florida law requires that all kids under 5 years of age be restrained no matter where they are seated in a car or truck. For children under 3 years of age, they must be secured in a child safety seat or in the car or truck manufacturer’s integrated child safety seat. Volvo makes an excellent integrated car seat in it SUV models.

For children ages 4 – 5, they may travel in a vehicle if seated in a separate child carrier, or an integrated child-safety seat. If, however, the seat belt does not fit the safety seat correctly, a booster seat must be used. We recommend that children weighing approximately 40-80 pounds and under 4’9″ tall should also ride in a booster seat.

Infants must always ride facing to the rear until they are at least one year old and weigh more than 20 pounds. It is important that when placing a child in a rear-facing car-seat, the infant be in a semi-upright at an angle of no more than 45 degrees. All forward-facing car seats should but a child sitting in an upright position.

Violation of Florida’s Child Restraint Law carries a fine of $60 and 3 points on your driving record. In lieu of the penalty specified of money and points, the driver who violates Florida’s child seat law can with the Judge’s approval, participate in a child restraint safety program. After successful completion of the program, the points and costs may be waived at the Judge’s discretion.

We recommend that children 12 and under always ride in the back seat as this has been proven to cut the risk of death by 36%. It simply is not worth the risk to put your child in the front seat, no matter how much they want to sit up front.

As a Ft. Lauderdale car crash attorney I stress that one should never place a child in a child safety seat in the front seat of a car or truck that is equipped with a passenger air bag. In those situations, always place the child in the the back seat. No matter where you put your child if you do not install the seat correctly you may be putting your child at risk. There are a number of installation services like CarFit Florida that can help make sure that you have installed the seat correctly.