411: New Child Car Seat Law in Florida
Our personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green know that on the first day of 2015, a new child car seat law went into effect. This law changes the safety requirements concerning transporting young children in motor vehicles.
In our practice, we represent individuals who have been injured due to the negligence and/or recklessness of others. Frequently, these injuries are the result of auto accidents. Unfortunately, when children are present in a struck motor vehicle, they are more susceptible to sustaining injuries than are the adults in the car, simply given their smaller, more fragile bodies.
Last year, in Florida alone, 5 children were killed, and roughly 150 others were injured, in auto accidents due to improper or lack of child restraints. Research by the CDC, meanwhile, has shown that booster seats for children reduce the risk of serious injury to 4- 8-year olds by almost 50%.
Until this year, Florida’s child safety seat requirements were the most relaxed in the country; children were only required to ride in a child car seat through the age of 3. With Florida’s law that adults must wear a seat belt in a motor vehicle, the regulation was (until this year) that a 4-year-old was required to be restrained in the same way that an adult was, despite complete differences in body types and strength. Now, thankfully, children are required to sit in federally approved, tested child restraint seats until age six, not huge change but a significant one. After age six, until age 7, it’s the responsibility of the adult driver of the motor vehicle to make sure the child is properly secured.
According to the law, drivers who violate the new child car seat regulation face a $60 fine, court fees and points being assessed to their driver’s license. However, as our personal injury lawyers know from experience, the real costs of failing to keep a child safe in a motor vehicle is far worse.
As noted above, children are only required to be in these tested and government-approved safety seats until the age of 6. That doesn’t mean, though, that they shouldn’t remain in safety seats or should switch immediately to wearing seat belts. The Sun Sentinel has provided wise guidelines for determining whether a child, after age 5, is ready for a seat belt. If the below criteria aren’t met, you should seriously consider keeping your child in a car seat.
- The child is at least 4’9’’;
- AAA, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have all recommended that children who have outgrown their car seats ride in booster seats until they reach this height;
- The child can sit all the way back in the seat and bend his or her knees at the edge of the seat;
- The shoulder belt lies across the chest, not across the neck; and
- The lap belt lays across the upper thighs, not across the stomach.
Our lawyers at the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green are happy this new law has gone into effect; we believe it will make children safer and reduce the number of auto accidents leading to child injuries.
If you or your child has been injured in an auto accident, please contact us for a free consultation by calling 561-266-9191 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to assisting you!