Florida Child Car Seat Laws

Florida requires drivers to secure children under 18 with safety restraints. The state expects drivers to act responsibly and ensure that children buckle up or ride in approved safety seats.

A child car seat can save your child’s life. Using a car seat correctly can also help you prove that your child is entitled to full injury compensation after a car accident.

If your child was injured in a car crash in St. Petersburg, FL, contact the St. Petersburg car accident lawyers at Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys for help by calling us at (727) 933-0015. We’ve recovered millions for car accident victims.

How Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys Can Help After an Accident in St. Petersburg

How Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys Can Help After an Accident in St. Petersburg

Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys was founded to represent local accident victims in St. Petersburg, Florida. Our St. Petersburg personal injury attorneys have more than 25 years of combined experience and have secured millions of dollars in compensation for their clients.

The firm’s lawyers have earned high ratings from clients and legal industry publications, including a 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo, its highest rating.

When you hire us to help you after a child injury, we can:

  • Investigate your car accident to gather evidence
  • Help you find the right doctors and specialists to treat your child’s injuries
  • Calculate your damages and losses
  • Work with experts in different fields to strengthen your case
  • Handle all communications (and negotiations) with the other side
  • Take your case to court

A car accident can injure you and your child and create enormous financial stress. To discuss your car crash injuries and the compensation you might be entitled to, contact Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys for a free consultation.

How Common Are Child Car Seat Laws?

Every jurisdiction in the United States has a child car seat law. All 50 states plus Washington D.C. and every overseas territory require child car seats.

States have these laws because child car seats reduce injuries and prevent deaths. In 2020, over 600 children were killed and 63,000 were injured in car crashes. Of the children who died, 211 weren’t properly restrained.

The statistics show that car seats have a dramatic effect on crash outcomes. Research indicates that child restraints reduce the risk of both fatal and nonfatal injuries by up to 82% when used correctly.

Overview of Florida Child Car Seat Laws

Florida’s child car seat law covers two distinct stages in a child’s development. After graduating from a car seat, Florida’s seat belt law covers children until they turn 18.

Under Florida’s law, the driver is responsible for securing all child passengers in a compliant child restraint. This means a parent, babysitter, sibling, or any other adult driving a child can get a ticket for violating the law.

The child car seat law covers all passenger vehicles except:

  • School, commercial, and transit buses
  • Farm tractors
  • Semi-trucks
  • Motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles, and e-bikes

Additionally, taxi, shuttle, and limousine drivers don’t need to ensure compliance with the child car seat law. Instead, the responsibility for providing a car seat and securing the child falls on the adult traveling with them.

Children Up to Three Years Old

Children must ride in a child car seat until their fourth birthday.

Florida doesn’t specify the type of car seat you must use for your child. However, your child should start in a rear-facing car seat and continue using it until they outgrow the seat, according to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

A rear-facing car seat places children on their backs with their heads pointed toward the front of the vehicle. In this position, the car seat supports the child’s head, neck, and back. It also prevents the child from getting whipped back and forth during a collision.

After the child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, they can graduate to a forward-facing car seat. Front-facing car seats have a five-point harness to reduce the risk of ejection. As with rear-facing seats, children should remain in front-facing car seats until they outgrow them.

This means you should keep your child in a front-facing car seat until the child turns four years old or weighs more than 40 pounds, whichever occurs first.

Children Four or Five Years Old

After your child turns four years old, Florida law allows you to choose between a car seat and a booster seat. Before that, allowing them to ride in a booster seat violates the law. Florida law allows your child to ride without any car seat or booster after they turn five.

Again, according to the AAP, the child should be at least 40 pounds to use a booster seat. They should continue using the booster seat until they’re tall enough to use the seat belt safely. Combining the AAP’s recommendations with Florida law, your child should use a booster until they’re five years old or reach four feet, nine inches, whichever comes first.

Children Six to 18 Years Old

Florida’s seat belt law covers children between the ages of six and 18. All children under 18 must wear a seat belt when riding in a vehicle. Even after your child turns 18, they must wear a seat belt when riding in the front seat.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawyers

A car accident can cause devastating injuries that may require lifetime care. To learn about the compensation you can seek for your child’s injuries, contact Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys for a free consultation.