Car Seat Safety in Florida: Know the Law

For new parents, the story of the baby and car seat safety usually starts well before the child is born. With so many different products to choose from, car-seat shopping often turns into something akin to a full-time hobby—not to mention seeking out the best stroller, crib, highchair, and so much more, from baby-wipe warmers to bibs and bouncy seats.

Put Safety First When Purchasing a Car Seat

Car seats are big business in the US today, but whether you end up buying one that costs $50 or $950, the priority is on safety. And this goes for infant car seats, forward-facing seats, toddler seats, and booster seats. Of course, you will also face the ultimate test as a parent when you try to install such an apparatus for the first time, and then detach it. Not only should you be certain that you know how to put the seat in correctly and take it out, but be sure it is the right size for your child and that no parts are missing. This is important to consider especially if you are using a secondhand seat.

Learn How to Install the Car Seat Properly

The laws regarding babies traveling in cars are easy enough to understand. When you take the baby home from the hospital, it must be in an infant carrier that connects to a base in the car—or you can use a convertible car seat which does not detach, meaning that you put the baby directly into it in the car. Convenience is certainly an enormous factor with the infant seat that detaches and can also go into a matching stroller, but with the convertible car seat, you should not have to buy another even as your child grows. The convertible car seat ‘converts’ from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing one, and can accommodate your child into toddlerhood and beyond.

Follow Florida Law Regarding Seating & Age

Although we love to see our children progress (as well as face forward), and some begin chomping at the bit to sit in ‘big kid seats’ or no car seat at all, laws are in place to keep everyone as safe as possible in the case of a car crash. While your baby should be placed in a safe, federally approved, rear-facing seat at least until they exceed the specified weight and height outlined by the manufacturer, you may want to take extra precautions and continue with that position until they are well into toddlerhood.

Beyond that, Florida law outlines the following regarding babies and children riding in cars:

  • Ages three or younger must use a separately purchased car seat, or the one built into the vehicle.
  • Children four to five must sit in ‘either a separate car seat, a built-in child seat or a seat belt, depending on the child’s height and weight.’
  • Any child not in the previous age categories, under 18, must be wearing a seatbelt.
  • Children 12 years old or under should not ride in the front seat due to danger from airbags.

While everyone should practice good safety habits while riding in the car, this is particularly important for children. In the case of a wreck they may be prone to head, chest, and lung injuries as well as broken limbs, serious contusions, and more; in fact, car crashes are the leading cause of accidental fatalities in children.

Contact Us for Help

If you or your child have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of others, please call Heintz & Becker for a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys. We handle all types of Florida personal injury cases, and our law firm has established an impressive record of verdicts and settlements. If you have been seriously injured, call us now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.