Child Car Seat Laws in Florida

Florida, like every other state, has specific laws requiring child car seats and restraints. These laws are meant to protect children of every age while riding in the car. 

Collisions can be devastating for individuals of all ages, but especially children. Having kids properly restrained can help avoid serious injury in the event of a car accident. Here is what you need to know about child car seat laws in Florida.

Types of Child Restraints Under Florida Law

Florida law sets out specific requirements for child restraints. There are multiple types of car seats, and the one most appropriate for your child depends on certain details, including their age, weight, and height. 

Children typically work their way up as they age and grow, from the most protective restraints to the least restrictive ones. It’s critical to ensure your child is in the proper car seat to keep them safe at all times. 

Rear-Facing Car Seat

Florida law does not specifically touch upon rear-facing car seats. However, following manufacturer recommendations ensures you’re following the law.

Rear-facing car seats, as the name suggests, are placed in a way that the child faces the rear of the vehicle. These car seats are intended for the smallest of children, from newborns to children two years of age.

Generally, children outgrow the rear-facing seat once they’ve reached 20 or 25 pounds, but some manufacturers recommend keeping children in rear-facing car seats until they’ve reached 40 or 45 pounds. 

Forward-Facing Car Seat

Once the child has outgrown the rear-facing car seat based on manufacturer recommendations, they can transition into a forward-facing car seat. A forward-facing car seat looks similar to a rear-facing car seat, but the child is facing the front of the vehicle instead. 

Booster Seat

Eventually, children outgrow forward-facing car seats based on weight and height limits. At this point, they can transition to a booster seat.

In Florida, children who have reached the age of four are allowed to ride in booster seats; however, you may decide to keep your child in a car seat for longer if necessary. Usually, once children have reached 40 to 80 pounds and are at least 35 inches tall, they are ready for a booster seat. 

Your child can remain in a booster seat until they’ve outgrown it, at which point they no longer require any special type of car seat or restraint. 

Seat Belts

Under Florida law, children six and over can forgo the booster seat and just use a regular seat belt. Still, for some children, even reaching the age of six is too young to get rid of the booster seat, so it depends on the circumstances.

Before allowing your child to just use a regular seat belt, it’s important to ensure they are big enough to properly fit in a seat belt. The lap belt must lie correctly over the tops of the thighs, and the shoulder belt should be placed across the chest and shoulder. If the seat belt instead lies across the stomach or the neck or face, the child is too small. 

The Importance of Proper Child Restraints

Keeping your children properly restrained in car seats can significantly help reduce the likelihood of serious injury or death if you experience an accident in Ocala. For the best protection, ensure your child’s restraint is correctly installed according to instructions, and your child should sit in the back seat at all times, as kids are safer in the back. 

Regardless of age, your children should always continue wearing their seat belts. Riding without a seat belt could result in both legal trouble and substantial harm. Of course, children learn from adults, so it’s helpful to lead by example and buckle up every time. This could not only save your life but also those of your kids.

Contact Our Ocala Car Accident Law Firm in North Central Florida

If you need legal assistance, contact the Ocala car accident lawyers at Allen Law Firm at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We have three convenient locations in North Central Florida:

Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Ocala Office
112 S Pine Ave
Ocala, FL 34471
(352) 351-3258

Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Downtown Gainesville
621 W University Ave
Gainesville, FL 32601
(866) 928-6292

Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Gainesville office
2550 SW 76th St #150
Gainesville, FL 32608
(877) 255-3652