On January 1, 2015, a new law went into affect in the State of Florida that every Florida driver – and parent – should be aware of.
According to the new law, all children under 6 years old and 4 feet 9 inches tall must be strapped into a safety seat, or at least a booster seat. Before New Years 2015, Florida was one of only 2 states in the nation not requiring child safety seats.
Parents who violate the new law face fines of $60 and 3 points on their license.
Exceptions to New Florida Safety Seat Law
The law allows for some exceptions: 4 and 5 year olds may use a seatbelt in case of emergency and if the driver is not a member of the child’s immediate family.
The previous safety seat law in Florida did not mandate a safety or booster seat for children older than the age of 3.
According to the new Florida safety seat law, for a child up to 3, it must be a car’s built-in safety seat or a separate seat with a five-point harness and tether that clips to the car’s rear structure via the latch system. For ages 4 and 5, a built-in child seat or one that boosts them up so the vehicle’s seat belt system can be safely hooked in must be used.
Florida Department of Transportation Steps In
The Florida Department of Transportation’s Community Traffic Safety Team is now handing out a new information card on the revised statute to parents. It states that a booster seat is mandated until the child reaches 4-foot-9, typically between 8 and 12 years old. The booster seat allows for the lap belt to fit correctly across the child’s hips, while the shoulder belt snugs across the center of their shoulder and chest, according to the card.
Good Job, Florida Legislature!
We should applaud this law and respect it. An adult seat belt for a toddler is just not enough, and lives are at stake. Parents should do everything they can to secure their children properly and safely while riding in cars.
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