About Florida Car Seat Laws and History
The first child passenger safety laws came into effect in 1985 in Florida, long after car seats invention in 1930s.
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is responsible for child welfare in Florida. If a family abuses or neglects a child’s harm or injury, its definition perhaps gives it the jurisdiction to charge parents for not using the proper car seat.
Florida car seat laws and restraint requirements are governed by section 316.613 Fla. Stat. The clause is the official statute. Breaking the law attracts a $60.00 fine, plus three points against your driver’s license. The points can also be waived by a court and send the parent to a child restraint safety program.
Florida Car Seat Laws Height and Weight
Height and weight requirements for each category of car seat guarantee the safest likely result in a car accident. Unfortunately, Florida has no car seat laws that directly address the height and weight of each car seat type. You will only find limits based on a child’s age.
The statute, however, requires parents to use federally approved and crash-tested child restraint systems. That means it does indirectly make child weight restrictions for each type of car seat. So if you follow the instructions from your car seat manufacturer, you are following the Florida law.
When Can a Child Sit in the Front Seat Florida?
Your child is allowed to occupy the front seat after reaching the age of six, according to the laws in Florida. But professionals recommend that children should remain in the back seat until they turn 13 years.
Florida Car Seat Laws Rear-Facing
Florida law does not provide specific information regarding when your child should start using the rear-facing car seat. This brings confusion to parents who want to obey the law, but you can still do it by following the car seat manual from the manufacturer. It will give you the specifics on weight and when to use it, thus complying with the Florida laws for the same.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles states that the best car seat should be the one that perfectly fits your child. According to the AAP, most car seat manufacturers have built seats that hold babies weighing 40 lbs., meaning up to 2 years of age.
Florida Car Seat Laws Forward-Facing
Florida car seat laws do not specify when a child is allowed to sit facing forward. As such, they leave parents confused about when to begin using a forward-facing car seat, or when to stop. So, just like the case above (rear-facing), ensure that you follow your car seat’s manufacturer recommendations.
While most manufacturers will tell you it is safe to use a forward-facing car seat when your kid is roughly 25 lbs., it’s much safer to wait until they are at least 40 lbs. to 50 lbs. That is until they are 4 years old.
Florida Car Seat Laws Booster Seat
Florida car seat laws on booster seats are too soft, as they permit a child to begin using a booster seat when they are 4 years old. According to children safety experts, a child should be allowed to use a booster seat after outgrowing their forward-facing car seat height or weight limits. We are talking about 85 lbs. in weight and at least 35 inches in height.
Before you switch your child to a booster seat, make sure they have outgrown the forward-facing car seat’s internal harness and have not yet reached 4’9” inches tall. Ensure they also can’t sit with their back against the vehicle seat with knees bending at the edge of the seat cushion without stooping.
Florida Car Seat Laws on Uber or Taxi
Florida law makes it everyone’s responsibility to ensure the child’s welfare complies with the statute’s requirements. As such, it is mandatory for a parent or caregiver of a child to have a car seat to travel in a taxi, Uber, or any ridesharing situation. So, you need a car seat for every vehicle you are using, and failure to that, you will be issued a ticket.
Many taxi or Uber drivers will not carry you if you do not have a car seat for your child.
Florida Car Seat Laws 6-Years-Old
Florida car seat laws allow 6-years-old kids to upgrade from a booster seat and start using an adult’s seat belt. But most kids are still young at 6, making it unsafe in the event of an auto accident. Why? Because the lap and shoulder belts can’t rest in the appropriate place due to their height. As such, they can get serious damages on their spleen, liver, and intestines.
According to pros, a child should be at least 8 years old and 4’9” tall before they start using the seat belt as Florida law provides.
Car Seat Replacement after Accident
Florida has not issued laws regarding car seat replacement after an accident, but you can refer to the NHTSA recommendations in the cases above.
I am Ashley Davis, a mom of three kids and the editor here at 10BabyGear. I have been a parent since 2011 and have been doing full-time consulting as a baby sleep expert since 2019. When I am not researching or testing the next baby gear hitting the market, you’ll find me teaching my toddlers a trick or two – especially over the last few months with the lockdown. I hope you’ll find my guides and reviews helpful as you make your next purchase decision. If you have any questions, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.