Law Offices of Paul K. Schrier, PLLC

Child Car Seat Safety. Car Seats in Florida: Do You Know the Laws?

Walk through any baby products store and it's easy to get quickly overwhelmed by the dizzying array of car seat choices.

Rear-facing, forward-facing, LATCH system, booster seat ... which one should you choose? Does it matter?

Actually, it matters a great deal. Depending on your child's age and size, it's also the law in Florida to put your child in the proper type of car seat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are a leading cause of death in children age 12 and younger. In 2014, over 600 children were killed in car accidents, and more than 121,000 were injured in auto crashes. Many of these deaths could have been prevented by the use of proper car seats and restraints.

If you or your child has been injured in an auto accident, call a car accident lawyer Miami, Florida as soon as possible, as you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Florida Car Seat Laws

Under Florida law, all children under the age of 18 must wear a seat belt. The rear seat is also the safest place for children age 12 and under to ride, as front seat air bags can cause serious injuries to kids age 12 and below. There are also additional requirements for various age groups.

Separate carriers. Children from birth to age three must be restrained in a separate carrier or an integrated child seat that is part of the vehicle. Children should ride in the back seat in a rear-facing carrier car seat or integrated seat until at least one year of age and 20 pounds.

For example, if your child is 14 months old but does not weigh 20 pounds, you should keep him or her in a rear-facing seat until he or she reaches the minimum weight requirement.

Likewise, if your child weighs 25 pounds at 10 months old, you should continue with a rear-facing car seat until your child's first birthday.

Booster seats. Starting at age four, a child can ride in a booster seat, and must remain in a booster until age five. This law went into effect in Florida in January 2015.

Car seats are only effective in a crash if they are properly installed. The Florida Highway Patrol conducts free car seat positioning checks at a variety of locations.

Finding the Right Car Seat

There are dozens of car seats in a variety of price ranges. You don't necessarily need to purchase the most expensive model to ensure a safe ride for your child.

You can learn more about car seats and which one is right for your family by visiting the car seat recommendation page of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The NHTSA also has a useful calculator tool you can use to determine which type of car seat is best for you. With the calculator, you can plug in your child's birthdate, weight, and height to get a list of car seats that meet statutory requirements.

Get Answers about Your Car Accident Case Today

If your child was injured in a car accident, you deserve answers. You may also be entitled to compensation for your child's injuries and other damages.

Get help from an experienced car accident attorney today. Contact a Florida car accident lawyer right away to get the answers you need to make informed decisions about the next steps in your case.

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