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Florida Car Seat Law: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Child Safe

Nationwide, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death and injury for children between the ages of one and twelve. In 2009, eighty-eight children were killed inFlorida highway crashes. The true tragedy is that half of these deaths could have been prevented had the child been in an approved car safety seat or wearing a seat belt.

According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) research, a properly installed and used child safety seat reduces a child’s chances of death in an accident by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers ages one to four. However, the NHTSA estimates that at least 72% of child vehicle safety restraints are being used incorrectly increasing the child’s risk of injury.

In Florida, all children age five or under must be restrained in a car seat or safety belt. Children ages three and under must be in a child seat or booster seat. Children age four and five may use a car seatbelt. Florida’s car seat law is not as comprehensive as car seat law in most other states, and it may not provide adequate protection for your child.

Car seat experts recommend that all infants be restrained in rear facing car seats with a five-point harness until they reach the weight or height limit of their seat. Infants should weigh at least 20 pounds and be one year of age before being moved to a forward-facing seat. However, a rear-facing seat offers better neck protection for young children, so don’t be in a hurry to turn a convertible car seat around.

Once a child is too large for their rear-facing car seat, they can be moved into a forward-facing seat. These seats should also be used until the child reaches the limits of that seat. Most seats reach that limit when the child is around four years old and 40 pounds. However, many seats have a higher weight limit which extends their protective benefits.

A child who has outgrown his car seat should use a booster seat in a rear seat until he reaches 4 feet 9 inches and eighty pounds, the height at which vehicle safety belts properly fit across the upper thighs and shoulders.

Children under the age of thirteen should always ride in the back seat.

It is truly a tragedy when a child is injured or killed in a traffic accident. A car seat is the best protection you can give your child.

If your child has been injured or killed in a West Palm Beach traffic accident, South Florida accident attorney Craig Goldenfarb would like to help you get the accountability and compensation you deserve.

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