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According to Florida law, it is mandatory that children being transported in motor vehicles must be appropriately restrained with a proper child safety restraint. The precise requisites differ depending upon the age of the child and are based upon government and industry safety regulations. These new laws are put into place to protect your child and provide clear set of laws to protect your child.
Children Less Than Four Years of Age
All children four years or younger must ride in the back seat in a child safety seat. This may be a child safety seat that was installed in the vehicle by the manufacturer or by a separate carrier.
Infants should use a rear-facing seat at all times for the reason being that this is the safest attainable procedure of transferring young children. Safety specialists advise continuous use of this seat as long as the child is within the weight and height limitations of the seat. When the child has outgrown the rear-facing seat (normally around the age of one year and a weight of 20 pounds minimum), you should change to a forward-facing child safety seat. Much like the rear-facing seat, the forward-facing child safety seat should also be installed in the vehicle's rear seat.
Children Between The Ages of Four and Five
In accordance with the law, children between the ages of four and five may maintain use of a child safety seat, at the parent's judgment. Alternately, the child could use the vehicle's safety belt. Nonetheless, the child is required to remain in the rear seat. That said, safety specialists suggest that children should continue to use the forward-facing seat until they surpass the height or weight limitations of the seat. This occurs at the approximated age of four years old at a weight of 40 pounds. Additionally, safety specialists also advise the use of a booster seat for the child at this age. If not, it is likely that the seat belt may not adequately fit and, in the occurrence of an accident, the child is at serious risk of injury.
Children Between The Ages of Six and Eight
Any child who is between the ages of six and eight must ride in the back and have a seatbelt and or restraint.. Though the law does not demand the use of a booster seat, safety specialists propose that you maintain use of a booster seat for your child until the child reaches a minimum height of four feet, nine inches (4'9") tall.
Children Between The Ages of Nine and Twelve
Children between the ages of nine and twelve are required to use a seat belt at all times and be seated in the rear seat of the vehicle. It is no longer a requirement that children of this age continue usage of a booster seat and can securely use the adult seat belt.
Children Aged 13 and Older
Children aged thirteen and older are allowed to ride in either the front or back seat. Identically to adults, children seated in the front seat must wear seat belts at all times.
Child Safety Seat Checks
Florida offers an abundance of child seat fitting stations at no cost. When considering changing your child's seating arrangement, you should always visit one of these locations to ensure proper safety. Keep in mind, never make a vehicle safety judgment based established exclusively on information read online or offline. Always search for a professional/specialist opinion. Visit the Seat Check website to find a station close to you and make an appointment. For additional information on child seat safety, read safety tips from Miami Children's Hospital or About.com Baby Products.