Picking The Right Car Seat For Your Child

Traffic accidents are the top cause for death for U.S. children and young adults ages 3 through 19. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this is in part because of the improper use of failure to use proper restraints and seats. The traditional rule of law that parents or guardians should follow when appropriately accessing what seat a child should be using to protect them in a vehicle is to examine where the seat belt lies once buckled. If a seat belt lies across the belly or neck, they can cause catastrophic injuries in a car crash. Instead, the seat belt should lie across the hips and shoulders; just as it would fit an adult.

Florida law states:

  • Children 7 years old or younger must be secured in a federally approved child restraint system.
  • Children 4 to 7 years old must sit in either a separate car seat, a built in child seat or a seat belt, depending on the child’s height and weight.
  • Children 3 years old and younger must use a separate car-seat or the vehicle’s built in child seat [1].

Continually, it is the liability of the supervising adult to make sure that any child under 7 years old is seated in a federally-approved child car seat. Failure to do so could result in a $60 fine and 3 points against your driver’s license.

In the past, 4 and 5 year olds could wear a seat belt only and the supervising adult would not be fined if pulled over. However, as of January 1 of this year, children must ride in a crash-tested, federally approved car seat or booster seat until that turn 6 or 7. The reason for this action is because booster seats are designed to position children so adult seat belts can fit them instead of physically constraining them in a dangerous way. AAA and the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommend that kids continue to ride in a car or booster seat until they are about 4 foot 9 inches tall and about 8 to 12 years old [2]. Florida law only distinguishes limitations based on age.

What car seat is the right one?

Additionally, using the following the car seat guidelines from FLHSMV will help you pick the right car seat for your child:

  • Birth to 1 year old and at least 20 lbs should 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 should use a forward-facing child seat in the back seat until they reach the weight and height limits recommended by the manufacturer.
  • 4 years old and 40 lbs. – 8 years old or 4 ft 9 inches tall should use a booster seat in the back seat until your child is big enough to use the car’s seat belt.
  • 8 years old or 4 ft 9 inches tall –12 years old should have your child sit in the backseat with a seatbelt.
  • At 13 years old, your child can sit in the front seat of your car [1].

Also, make sure that as the adult, you are setting good examples of safety for your children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, restraint use among young children often depends upon the driver’s seat belt use. Almost 40% of children riding with unbelted drivers were themselves unrestrained [3].Car safety is very important. Our children are our most precious gift and resource. So remember to make sure you have the proper car safety seat for your child’s age, height, and weight. Please ensure the safety device is properly restrained in the back seat of the car. And also, remember to wear your seat belt too.

Dolman Law Group

Children who are injured by a car seat can develop serious and long-term medical complications, some of which may require ongoing medical care and treatment. The lawyers at our firm understand how important it is for victim to recover for their losses. Have you or a loved one suffered injury or death because of a car accident? Call one of the experienced Clearwater personal injury attorneys of the Dolman Law Group to discuss your legal rights and options. You can contact our injury law attorneys at (727) 853-6275. We are ready and willing to assist you and your family with this important issue.

Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 853-6275



[1] http://www.dmv.org/fl-florida/safety-laws.php
[2] http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-booster-seats-new-florida-law-20150126-story.html
[3] http://www.flhsmv.gov/fhp/childsafety/pdfs/buckleup.pdf