New Florida Car Seat Law Requires Car Seats up to 6th Birthday
Effective January 1, 2015, Florida drivers must follow an enhanced child restraint device (car seat) law, which will reduce tragic outcomes in vehicle accidents. The new law extends the requirement of a car seat or booster seat until a child’s 6th birthday. A car seat with a harness must still be used until their 4th birthday. Then, for children ages 4 and 5, a car seat or booster seat can be used but not a seat belt alone.
Though this new law provides additional protection for children until age 6, parents should know that using a booster seat is actually recommended until the height of 4’9” (between 8 and 12 years of age). The booster seat allows the seat belt, which is intended for adult use, to fit correctly on the body of a child. Similarly, though the law requires a car seat with a harness only until age 4, safety experts from AAA, the National Safety Council, and many other national injury prevention organizations recommend parents keep their child in a forward-facing seat with a harness until the maximum height and weight allowed for their seat. Given current models available, this can be as high as 65-80 pounds.
Parents with questions about the new law or any other car seat safety concerns can make an appointment with a certified technician trained in child passenger safety through the Keys to Kids Safety Program. Technicians can teach parents how to install new seats, help assess the safety of current seats and provide information on choosing the correct seat for each child.
Individual appointments are available in Key West on Wednesdays, in Tavernier on January 28 and March 11, or in Marathon on February 18. Call 305-293-8424 to schedule an appointment or for additional details. Assistance is free to any parent or caregiver in Monroe County. If a child’s seat is determined to be unsafe, new car seats are available for a $25 donation.
Let's work together to keep children in the Keys safe and prevent tragedies.. For more information on the Keys to Kids’ Safety car seat events, our education and advocacy efforts or any of the other free programs we offer for pregnant women or families, please call (305) 293-8424 or go to KeysHealthyStart.org. For an interactive web site to help you determine your child’s car seat needs, click here.