At What Age Can Kids Sit in the Front Seat of a Car in Florida?
Bill Allen | December 22, 2023 | Florida Law
There is nothing in this world more important than your child’s safety. As a parent or guardian, there are hundreds of safety factors to consider for your child, especially when riding in a vehicle.
It can be confusing to determine where your child should sit and what kind of car seat or booster seat they might need. Regulations about age vs. height vs. weight can get tricky because every child is unique. Let’s get to the bottom of what’s best for your child.
When Can Your Child Sit in the Front Seat?
At the age of 13, your child is safe to sit in the front seat. Children under 13 are safest in the back seat of your car, and there are additional regulations to consider in terms of the car seat or booster seat they may need. While Florida state laws don’t specify this, it’s the state safety recommendation.
Car Seat Regulations For Kids
Florida law states that children under six years old must be secured in a car seat. Your child will progress from a rear-facing car seat to a forward-facing car seat to a booster seat. All of these devices will be secured in the back seat of your car until your child is 13 years old. According to the child safety and healthcare experts at AdventHealth, you should.
Use a rear-facing child seat if your child is:
- Between 0 and 12 months
- Over 12 months but under 20 lbs.
Use a front-facing child seat if your child is:
- Between 1 and 6 years old
- Under 4’9” in height
Use a booster seat if your child is:
- Over 6 years old
- Above the height/weight requirements set on your front-facing car seat
- Not yet big enough to properly fit the car’s seat belt.
Once your 6 to 12-year-old child is tall enough to properly use the back seat seat belt, they can transition away from the booster seat. However, they should still be riding in the back seat of the car until they turn 13.
Why Can’t My Child Under 13 Ride in the Front Seat?
First and foremost, your child is not safe in the front seat until they are both big enough and mature enough to ride there safely. Your child must be tall enough to properly fit the seat belt across their shoulder and chest so that it doesn’t choke up on their head and neck. Your child also needs to be large enough to avoid injury from airbag deployment. Children under 13 may be more likely to distract or disable the driver just by being silly.
There are also legal implications for parents who don’t follow all vehicular regulations regarding child safety. You are not breaking a specific state law by letting your child under 13 ride in the front.
However, if you don’t follow the safety recommendations set forth by the state and the regulations laid out by car seat manufacturers, you could be charged with negligence or nullify any relevant personal injury claims.
As a vehicle operator and as a parent, you have a duty of care to abide by. Follow all recommendations and regulations to keep your family safe and yourself out of trouble.
Ensure Your Child’s Safety by Following State Recommendations
When you understand and follow all recommendations and laws, you’re abiding by the latest standards in child safety. Adhere to the age, height, and weight limitations of your child’s seat and seat location to keep them safe in your car.
Emphasize proper riding etiquette and encourage your child to prioritize their own safety, too. This way, you reinforce good habits and send your child on a safer journey every time they ride.
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