when can a child stop using a car seat in florida

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“Every operator of a motor vehicle as defined in this section, while transporting a child in a motor vehicle operated on the roadways, streets, or highways of this state, shall, if the child is 5 years of age or younger, provide for the protection of the child by properly using a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device.” – The 2022 Florida Statutes

Failure to use a child safety seat can not only result in physical damage, but it has a financial impact as well. Car accidents cause the loss of $3.16 billion annually in Florida. These budget holes can be avoided by keeping the laws and regulations in place.

It is essential for you to ascertain you comply with Florida laws, no matter if you are a resident of Florida or if you are just a visitor to the state.

Every parent of a small child has a responsibility to be educated about car seat regulations as Florida’s car seat safety laws apply to all children on Florida roads.

This article explains the basic Florida car seat or booster rules and guidelines to keep your kids safe and boost highway safety.

Child Passenger Safety Based on the Law

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Florida Statutes have section 316.613, which is considered a guideline for child car seats laws. According to it, the main regulations regarding car seat can be highlighted:

Infants and children under the age of three must be placed in a separate portable device or a child safety seat when traveling by car.

Children aged four to five years old are required to be in a separate carrier, an integrated children’s seat, or a booster seat.

Children over 6 years of age may remain seated in a booster seat may begin to use a conventional seat belt.

All car seats need to be crash-tested and federally approved and must follow safety standards set by car manufacturers.

Laws Regarding Child’s Weight and Height

Under Florida’s seat law, only the age of the child is taken into account. The rule being applied is based on the child’s age, regardless of whether the child is very tall or short.

There are no exceptions made to the children’s heights and weights.

Rear Facing Child Restraint in Florida’s Laws

The Florida child seat law does not mention the use of the term rear-facing car seat. It is logical to assume that there is no separate law regulating the use of a car seat either. As such, we can look to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the car seat you purchased.

By following the manufacturer’s regulations for a rear-facing car chair, you will therefore come into compliance with Florida’s rear-facing car seat laws by default. What rules do car seat manufacturers recommend you follow:

In Florida, a rear-facing car seat should be used from the very first trip, from the hospital to home.

There is no recommended age for transferring a child from the rear-facing position to the forward-facing position. According to current Florida guidelines, it is safest for toddlers to remain rear-facing as long as the manufacturer’s recommendations would allow. Generally, it is recommended for parents to keep a young child in a rear-facing car seat for infants and children under 3 years old or until they reach their weight or height limit.

For infant rear-facing seats, it is acceptable to transport children up to 20-25 pounds. If you use a larger rear-facing car seat, your child must be in it until they reach 40-45 pounds. Until that, children should remain rear facing.

Forward Facing Seats and the Car Seat Laws

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The same principle applies to forward-facing car seat. Florida car seat laws don’t specify the rules for using forward-facing seats. Thus, the best move here is to refer to a manufacturer’s rules and regulations.

When a child reaches the above-mentioned weight and height limits, it’s time to switch to a forward-facing car seat.

Child safety experts in Florida believe that parents should keep their children in the forward-facing car seat until they reach weights of up to 85 pounds and a height of at least 35 inches. After that, it’s possible to equip a vehicle with a booster or convertible car seat instead of a forward-facing car seat.

Florida Law Regarding Booster Seats

Florida law requires booster seat to be not used for kids until they reach at least age 4 years old. Parents can change to boosters when the following criteria are met:

  • Due to your child’s height and weight, the forward-facing car seat’s inner harness straps do not seat properly, create discomfort, and do not provide proper safety.
  • Your child weighs between 40 and 80 pounds and grows at least 35 inches tall, but is not yet 4’9″.
  • Your child is still slouching in a sitting position, with his or her back against the car seat and knees bent at the edge of the seat cushion.

Exemptions in the Car Seat Laws in Florida

If the child restraint system cannot be used for medical reasons, then the parents are exempt from liability to the law in Florida. In such cases, the driver must have medical documentation confirming that it is contraindicated for the child to sit in the car seat.

The laws also provide for cases where the driver gives a ride to someone else’s child. Such cases are not considered to be law violations.

What Florida Car Seat Laws Say About Switching to Seat Belt

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Under Florida car seats law, once children reach 6 years old, they may switch from using a booster seat to buckling up with a regular car belt.

However, most children, when they are 6, are shorted than the required height of 4’9“, which safety experts say is the best height. They also believe that a child should not be moved out of a booster seat until age 8.

When your child reaches the recommended age and height, and you begin to consider removing the booster seat, follow these guidelines:

When your child is not sitting in a booster seat, make sure their entire back is touching the back of the vehicle seat, the child is not slouching and their knees are bent at the edge of the seat.

The knee part of the harness passes as low as possible and touches the hips, while the shoulder half of the harness passes over the collar bone between the shoulder and the neck, without touching the neck.

Your kid can sit in this position for the entire trip.

Note that once you decide to remove a booster, your kid is to remain sitting in the back car seat.

That being said, regardless of Florida law, for the safest possible ride for your kids in the vehicle, you should always exercise caution and follow the recommendations of your pediatrician and car seat manufacturers.

The Best Time to Shift From the Back Seat to the Front car Seat

In the event of a car accident, triggered front seat air bags can be dangerous for young children. This is why drivers should make sure that children under 12 years old travel in the rear seats as required by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

A Car Accident in Florida Car Seat Laws

Florida’s laws cover the issue of whether the failure to use a car seats makes a difference in car accident cases.

The law states that non-compliance with the mandatory use of a child restraint system is not persuasive evidence in a civil case to prove comparative negligence.

This means that the other party can’t accuse you of not using child restraints if you and your kids were involved or injured in an accident. Jurors are not entitled to take evidence or arguments that not complying with seat belt laws is negligence.

Some attorneys and law firms can offer a free consultation on the matter of such accidents. If you need help, search for lawyers’ websites and book a free consultation.

Penalty for Not Using a Car Safety Seat in Florida According to the Law

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in Florida, if you don’t have a car chair and don’t use it as intended, you may be subject to three points on your driver’s license and a fine.

You may have to take a driving safety course to avoid getting the points. The course program you may attend is determined by the judge.

These Laws Apply Only to Motor Vehicles

The law does not apply to vehicles other than a car. To be more exact, buses that fall under a particular category, the majority of agricultural equipment, motorcycles, and bicycles are not covered by these laws.

To Sum Up

when can a child stop using a car seat in florida

Complying with car seat laws will help you keep your children safe and secure on the road. Florida law answers most questions about the use of a car seats. If the law does not specify one or the other point, it is advisable to rely on the manufacturer’s regulations and rules. Such cases are also considered as complying with the law.

Drivers may be subject to penalties if they fail to comply with the law. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you research Florida laws whether you live in the state or are just traveling.

Alice Brooks

Hi!!!My name is Alice Brooks. Here I share my observations and conclusions from my experience and the experience of my friends. First of all, I pay attention to safety and only then to trends. I want to help other parents to choose the right product.

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