Looking for information about Florida car seat laws? We’ve got the straight scoop and it’s worth taking a few minutes to become more informed about this all-important safety issue.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office website has all the details, but we’ll summarize them briefly here.
Florida Law on Car Seats
According to statutes on the books in the state of Florida, the requirement is for children under the age of five years to be properly restrained no matter where they are sitting in the vehicle.
- Children through age 3 – These children must be secured in a separate carrier (child safety seat) or in a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child safety seat.
- Children ages 4 to 5 – For these children, a separate carrier, an integrated child safety seat, or a safety belt may be used. If, however, a safety belt doesn’t properly fit the child, a booster seat should be used to correctly position lap and shoulder belts once the child has outgrown his or her forward-facing child safety seat. This generally occurs when the child reaches about 40 pounds in weight and four years of age.
- Children under 4 feet 9 inches and from approximately 40 to 80 pounds should ride in a booster seat.
- Infants – The Florida car seat laws are very clear on requirements for infants riding in vehicles. They must ride rear-facing until they are at least one year old AND weigh 20 pounds or more. Furthermore, the rear-facing infant should be in a semi-upright position at an angle of no more than 45 degrees.
- A forward-facing older child should ride in a vehicle sitting upright.
- Parents and caregivers are cautioned to never place a child in a child safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle that is equipped with a passenger airbag. Instead, always use the back seat of the vehicle.
Violations of the Florida car seat laws, the Florida child restraint law, carries a fine of $60 and three points on the violator’s driving record.
For the full text of the Florida statute and section covering Child Restraint Requirements (316.613) see the official Internet site of the Florida Legislature.
Also check out the various links and useful information on Child Passenger Safety and Occupant Protection available at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website. The site also has informative videos on forward-facing convertible seat, forward-facing car seat, and how to install a child safety seat.