Child Car Seat Laws in Florida Explained

Ensuring the safety of children while traveling in vehicles is a top priority for parents and caregivers in Florida. The state has implemented specific child car seat laws to protect young passengers from the risks associated with motor vehicle accidents. These laws are based on age, weight, and height requirements, and they mandate the use of appropriate child restraint systems, such as car seats and booster seats, for children of certain ages and sizes.

Failing to comply with Florida’s child car seat laws can result in fines, points on your driving record, and, most importantly, putting your child’s safety at risk. In this blog post, we’ll break down the essential aspects of Florida’s child car seat laws, explaining the requirements for different age groups and providing guidance on how to properly install and use child restraint systems in your vehicle. By understanding and following these laws, you can help keep your child safe while traveling on Florida’s roads.

Florida Car Seat Laws

Florida law establishes various requirements pertaining to child car seats, child restraints, and related issues. Legal requirements to be aware of are:

  • Children between the ages of four and five must sit in a separate carrier, a child seat that’s integrated with the vehicle, or a booster seat.
  • All children under the age of 18 must wear seat belts or child restraint devices in motor vehicles at all times. Once someone is over the age of 18, they don’t have to wear a seat belt if they’re a passenger in the back of the vehicle. Under the age of 18, however, a seat belt is a requirement, regardless of where a passenger is sitting.
  • A child under the age of five must sit in a federally-approved and crash-tested child restraint device.
  • A child between the ages of zero and three years must be in a separate carrier’s child restraint devices or an integrated child seat.

In regard to rear-facing car seat guidelines in Florida and forward-facing car seat guidelines in Florida, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) offers these suggestions:

  • Keep a child in a rear-facing car seat until they are two or even three years of age.
  • A child may “graduate” to a forward-facing car seat once they outgrow the weight and height limitations of the car seat manufacturer. They can switch to a booster seat once they outgrow a forward-facing car seat. A booster seat should be in the back. However, if there is no back seat, ensure the airbag is off in the seat where the child is.

Penalties for Car Seat Violations in Florida

Violating Florida child restraint laws can result in various consequences. Penalties for car seat violations in Florida include a fine of $60.00 and three points on your license.

You must also consider the potential consequences if a collision occurs. Failing to properly restrain a child in your vehicle could put them at greater risk of harm in the event of a wreck.

Additional Child Safety Tips for Driving in Florida

Along with obeying the law, other ways you can keep a child safe in your vehicle include:

Along with adhering to Florida booster seat requirement and related applicable laws, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also recommends keeping the following tips in mind when choosing a car seat for a child:

  • Familiarize yourself with the four main types of car seats for children.
  • Ensure a car seat is the right size for a child of your kid’s age, weight, and height. The NHTSA offers a guide for choosing car seats for children as they grow.
  • Don’t assume a car seat will comfortably and safely fit your vehicle. If you have the opportunity, test out a car seat in your vehicle before committing to one. If you don’t have this opportunity, never let your child continue riding in a seat that doesn’t stay put in your vehicle after installation. Return the seat and upgrade to a more suitable model immediately.
  • Thoroughly follow installation instructions. Check for online videos if you need more information about how to install a child car seat properly. If you can hire a professional to install a car seat for you, do so.

Important Child Safety Seat Belt Information for Florida Drivers

The NHTSA also offers recommendations for how a child should wear a seat belt when they’re old enough to do so. The lower part of the belt should rest across a child’s upper thighs. It shouldn’t rest across their stomach.

The upper portion should be snug across the chest and shoulders. A seat belt’s upper portion should never rest on the neck or face of anyone in a vehicle.

When to Switch from Booster to Seat Belt in Florida

The FLHSMV doesn’t specify at what age a child should “graduate” from a booster seat to a seat belt. In Florida, the recommendation is to keep a child in a booster seat until they’re physically big enough to wear a seat belt correctly. Signs a child may be ready for a seat belt include:

  • A child is able to comfortably sit in a seat with their back and bottom touching it completely.
  • The seat belt should remain in the proper position (as described in the previous section) easily. It should be snug and shouldn’t slide across a child’s body with minimal effort.
  • A child should be able to maintain a natural bend of the knee when seated in a car seat with a seat belt. Their feet should be able to reach the floor at all times.

Legal Exceptions to Florida Car Seat Laws

Child Car Seat Laws in Florida ExplainedThere are some exceptions to Florida’s car seat laws. Per Florida law, a child doesn’t need a restraint in the following types of vehicles:

  • A school bus or other type of bus
  • A farm tractor
  • A truck whose gross weight rating exceeds 26,000 pounds
  • A motorcycle
  • A moped
  • A bicycle
  • An electric bicycle

Contact a Florida Child Car Seat Accident Lawyer

Obeying these laws can help you protect your child. However, they could still sustain injuries in a collision. Additionally, they may be at risk if a car seat manufacturer or designer overlooks a defect.

If you or your child are ever hurt in a Florida car wreck, you may be eligible to receive compensation. A Florida child car seat accident attorney at Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers can help you better understand your legal options. Get started today by contacting us online or calling us at (619) 233-5020 for a free case review.

Contact Us

Downtown Office
Map icon 600 B Street, Suite #1450 San Diego, CA 92101
Downtown Office
Map icon 2667 Camino del Rio South, Suite 301-12, San Diego, CA 92108