Important Child Safety Seats Laws And Recommendations
To be able to claim any damages following an accident, you first have to make sure that you are in full compliance with laws, rules, and regulations concerning car safety. If children of any age were involved in the accident, you have to ensure that child safety was fully observed on your side.
Florida child car seat lawsAccording to updated laws, now common across 49 states (including Florida, and with the exception of South Dakota, where the age limit is 5), children under six years old must be seated in federally approved car seats according to their age or weight/height.
Children 0 through 3 years old must be placed in a separate car seat (or a built-in one if available).
Children who are 4 through 5 years old must sit in a child car seat or a built-in car seat if the vehicle is equipped with one.
Children who are six years old or older must wear a seat belt.
The only legal exceptions to these rules are if the child is given a ride by someone other than family, if the child presents a medical emergency or if the child has a documented medical condition which is exempted from the rules.
Failure to comply with these legal requirements can result in 3 points against your driver's license and a fine of $60 or more.
Non-compulsory safety recommendationsWhile there is no specific law regulating this, for children older than six it is always advisable to use booster seats. These are designed so that the additional height helps the seat belt fit more snugly across the body of the child, thus providing more safety in case of car crashes or merely a sudden car movement.
In all cases where safety straps are used, make sure the straps are comfortably draped across the body rather than around the back or under the arms.
The AAA and the APA recommend that children under 12 ride in the back seat, to ensure that they are not affected by airbag deployment. Also, the AAP recommends that all infants and toddlers ride rear-facing until they are at least two years of age. Bear in mind that the determining point in moving from one type of car seat to the next should be the height and weight of the child, along with age.
How to ensure proper installationCar seats can be easily installed with the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system, which is compulsory for all vehicles manufactured after 2002 and which provides an anchoring system that ensures the child is strapped with a smart and safe system.
All car seats come with specific instructions which need to be strictly followed. If you have any doubts concerning the correct installation of your particular car seat, check with your closest Child Car Seat Inspection Station or ask a Child Passenger Safety Technician (links below).