New Booster Seat Law Begins January 1
Beginning January 1, 2015, children ages 4 and 5 will be required to sit in a child safety seat or a booster seat rather than being buckled in with just a seat belt. Previously, Florida was one of only two states in the country without laws requiring children who have outgrown safety seats to use booster seats. Some exceptions exist, such as if the child is being transported by someone who is not a member of the immediate family or if there is a medical emergency, but caution should be taken and proper restraints should be used whenever feasible to avoid injuries or fines.
The stricter laws come as more and more research prove that proper child safety precautions in cars prevent unnecessary deaths. In 2014, 5 children were killed and 145 injured as a result of improper or no child restraint use.
After Age 5
After age 5, children may be ready to wear seatbelts if they are at least 4-foot-9 and can sit all the way back and bend their knees at the edge of the seat with the seatbelt fitting properly (shoulder belt laying across chest, lap belt laying across upper thighs). Children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat whenever possible for additional safety.
Check Your Car Seat
If you are unsure of what seat type or size is best for your child, visit the NHTSA’s SaferCar website or contact a local certified Child Passenger Safety Technician to have your seat inspected.