New Florida Car Seat Law: Car Seats Up to 6TH Birthday!

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 01:38 pm

booster seat required for Florida kidsEffective January 1, 2015, Florida drivers must follow an enhanced child restraint device (car seat) law, which will reduce tragic outcomes in vehicle accidents. The new law extends the requirement of a car seat or booster seat until a child’s 6th birthday. A car seat with a harness must still be used until their 4th birthday. Then, for children ages 4 and 5, a car seat or booster seat can be used but not a seat belt alone.

Parents with questions about the new law or any other car seat safety concerns can make an appointment with a certified technician trained in child passenger safety in their area. Technicians can teach parents how to install new seats, help assess the safety of current seats and provide information on choosing the correct seat for each child.  Though this new law provides additional protection for children until age 6, parents should know that using a booster seat is actually recommended until the height of 4’9” (between 8 and 12 years of age).  The booster seat allows the seat belt, which is intended for adult use, to fit correctly on the body of a child.  Similarly, although the law only requires a car seat with a harness until age 4, safety experts from AAA, the National Safety Council, and many other national injury prevention organizations recommend parents keep their child in a forward-facing seat with a harness until the maximum height and weight allowed for their seat. Given current models available, this can be as high as 65-80 pounds.

Although this law applies mainly to Florida, this could spread to other states as well and maybe even your state, so why not be ahead of the game and think about what the experts are recommending for our children and maybe keep them in that seat a little while longer.

Happy New Year!

Editor’s Note:  As stated in their February 21, 2012 press release, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA “recommends that children ride in a booster seat until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly, which is typically when the child is somewhere between 8-12 years old and about 4 feet 9 inches tall.”  Click here to find your state’s laws on child passenger safety.

About the Author

Greg Atwood is a Firefighter /Paramedic in Coral Gables Florida and works for the Coral Gables Fire Rescue. He is an American Heart Association certified instructor in BLS ( Basic Life Support ), ACLS ( Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support ), and PALS ( Pediatric Advanced Life Support ). Greg currently lives in Miami Florida with his beautiful wife Alexa and their 2 sons, Connor and Jake. Greg is a former member of the PedSafe Expert team

Comments

2 Responses to “New Florida Car Seat Law: Car Seats Up to 6TH Birthday!”

  1. Alexis says:

    This is the state and constitution site on the law of child seats in the state of Florida. I just researched it because i have a small six year old they recommended still use a booster seat. I couldn’t find any law beyond a four or five year old. The doctor said if her feet couldn’t touch the floor then she should be in one, but my van has a lowered floor so she wouldn’t be able too. So I just need to make a judgement call since it isn’t a law. Either way this isn’t any country, strictly state on all moving vehicles.

    • Hi Alexis, this tends to be a challenge for parents since government laws often lag behind the latest research and guidance. In the article, the author has a great link to the latest legal guidelines for each state. Also, here are some useful sites for more information and recommendations: NHTSA (U.S. National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration) http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2011/NHTSA+Releases+New+Child+Seat+Guidelines
      (they have a good, simple flyer here: file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/4StepsFlyer.pdf) & Safecar.gov (http://www.safercar.gov/parents/index.htm). Even though the state of Florida’s “legal requirements” (i.e. mandates) stop at age 5, looking at the recommendations (and considering those made by your doctor) it seems to make sense that your small 6 year old remain in a booster seat a bit longer. Hope this helps!

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