If you haven’t heard already, Florida has a new child car seat law that is now in effect. It is very important to understand the new law if you are a resident of Florida or visiting the Sunshine State with a munchkin. You may also want to keep in mind that many other states have also given their child seat laws a boost, so make sure you double check em before you travel. Personally, I think the change is much needed to keep lil one’s safe in the car. My son is 5, but very petite and under the old law he was not expected to be in a safety seat after the age of 3. I have kept him in a car seat and just recently allowed him to move up to a booster seat. Too many parents do not use car seats and they place their children in danger every time they are in a moving vehicle. It is about time that Florida has tightened the reigns a bit.
So here are the details of the New Florida Child Car Seat Law that went in to effect January 1, 2015:
- Children 7 years old or younger must be secured in a federally approved child restraint system.
- Children 3 years old and younger must use a separate car-seat or the vehicle’s built-in child seat.
- Children 4 to 7 years old and less than 4 ft 9 inches tall, must sit in either a separate car seat or a built in child seat.
Use the following car seat guidelines from the FLHSMV while driving with a child in your vehicle.
- Birth – 1 year old and at least 20 lbs.
- Use a rear-facing child car seat in the back seat of the car.
- 1 year old and 20 lbs. – 4 years old and 40 lbs.
- Use a rear-facing child car seat in the back seat until they outgrow the weight and height limit of the child car seat.
- Normally when children are over 1 year old and weigh over 20 pounds, you can switch to a forward-facing car seat in the back of the car.
- 4 years old and 40 lbs. – 8 years old or 4’9″ tall
- Use a forward-facing child seat in the back seat until they reach the weight and height limits recommended by the manufacturer.
- Switch to a booster seat in the back of the car.
- 8 years old or 4’9″ tall –12 years old
- Use a booster seat in the back seat until your child is big enough to use the car’s seat belt.
- At 13 years old, your child can sit in the front seat of your car.
To help Florida residents adjust to the change, AAA is offering FREE booster seats every Friday in the month of January. You do not have to be a member of AAA to get a free booster seat, however you are required to make an appointment at a local AAA office. You can locate an office near you by visiting the AAA South Website.
I urge you to think smart and keep your child safe and follow the new law!