Buckle up! Children should always be buckled up or in a proper child restraint, and Florida has laws mandating protection for children in cars. Children under age 5 are required to use a child restraint device. Did you know if a child is injured or exposed to neglect by failure to comply with the law it can be considered criminal child abuse, per Florida Statute §827.03? It also may come into the judge’s considerations when determining child custody in family court. Learn Florida’s child restraint laws to make sure your child is protected.
What Does the Law Require?
Children age 5 and under must be secured properly in a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device. Children ages 0 to 3 must be in child restraint devices of a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat per Florida Statute §316.613. Children aged 4 and 5 years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a child booster seat may be used.
Failure to do so could result in a fine of $60, three points against their driver’s license and most importantly, injury to your child/children.
Suggested Child Car Seat Guidelines
- Birth to at least age 1 (or 20 pounds)- infant only/rear-facing or convertible seat rear-facing
- Age 1 (or at least 20 pounds) to age 4 (or 40 pounds)– convertible seat forward facing or forward facing seat in the rear seat of car
- Age 5 (or 40 pounds) to age 8 (or when 4’ 9”)– booster seat in rear seat of car
- Age 8 to age 15– shoulder/lap seat belt in the rear seat except 13 or older may ride in front
It’s important to note that child restraints have a shelf life of about six years. After then, most experts agree that some safety features may be compromised especially in an area as hot as Florida where changes in temperature can cause the plastic to crack.
A Violation May Influence Other Cases
When it comes to divorce cases, your Florida judge will generally consider a multitude of factors—all with the best interest of the child in mind. As part of their decision on parental responsibility, they will not only consider which parent has the ability to provide the more stable home environment, but also the parent’s knowledge of the child’s schedule, and the ability of each parent to keep it consistent. This means a lot of car travel to school, dance classes, and sports games. If you’re caught in violation of Florida child restraint law, it may be a standard offense on your driving record, but it could have an impact on your child custody case too.
Call Our Tampa Lawyers
At Anton Garcia Law, attorneys are dedicated to Representing Your Best Interest –in any way we can. We encourage everyone to buckle up for safety; keep these safety laws in mind and your child protected in the case of an accident.
Want to talk to a Tampa, FL attorney at Anton Garcia Law? Call our law firm at (813) 907-9807 or request a consultation with a dedicated lawyer today.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: safercar.gov.
For more information on car seat installation, visit healthychildren.org.