Florida seat belt law states that all children under age of three must be restrained in a child safety seat and that all infants must ride in rear-facing safety seats until they are at least 20 lbs.
But not all child safety seats are created equal. Your child’s age and weight should dictate which type of child safety seat you choose for him.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Florida seat belt law, infants should be kept in a rear-facing seat until they reach the age of 1 and are at least 20 lbs.
Many families receive hand-me-down child safety seats from friends and family members. If this is the case, before using the seat, you should consult the NHTSA’s Child Restraint Recall Website. This site has the details of every child safety seat recall since January 1990 and can prevent you from putting your child at risk.
When your child has outgrown his rear-facing seat, you should upgrade to a forward-facing child safety seat. This seat should be placed in the car’s backseat whenever possible to prevent the seat from being struck by an airbag in the case of a car crash. Your child should ride in a forward-facing seat until he is around 4 years old and 40 lbs.
When the child outgrows his forward-facing seat, you should purchase a booster seat. The child should ride in a booster seat in the back seat until the vehicle seat belt fits him properly without the booster. Booster seats are designed to prevent injury from the seat belt in the event of an auto accident. When the lap belt lays across his upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across his chest (usually when he turns 8 and is 4’9”), he can ride without the booster seat.
Installing the Safety Seat
One of the most important things about your child’s safety seat is that it is properly installed. To do this, you have to be able to understand the instructions. The NHTSA puts out an annual report on the “ease-of-use” of every safety seat on the market. That list is available here.
If you still have questions about the installation of your car seat after you read the manual, many local police and fire stations will check the installation for you. For a list of free inspection stations, click here.
If your child has been injured in an accident even though they were in a car seat, contact us for a free consultation.