If you’re driving in Florida with young kids, you must comply with the state’s strict child car seat laws. Here’s what you need to know to keep your children safe.
An Overview of the Child Car Seat Laws in Florida
The Sunshine State outlines the majority of its child safety seat laws in FL Stat § 316.613 (2019). This statute explains that motorists must place children who are younger than five years old in a crash-tested, federally approved restraint system while driving through cities such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
This Florida law requires kids that are three years of age or younger to travel in a separate carrier or an integrated child seat. When they are four and five years old, children may use a booster seat.
Once a kid reaches their sixth birthday, the state of Florida no longer requires them to travel in a child seat or booster seat. However, they must still wear a safety belt at all times.
Exceptions to Florida’s Child Safety Seat Laws
As with most regulations, there are a lot of exceptions to the state of Florida’s child car seat laws. For instance, kids do not need to use any child restraint devices when they travel in or on a:
- Farm tractor
- School bus, or
- Truck that weighs more than 26,000 pounds
Parents and guardians who plan to travel through Florida with young kids would be smart to take note of these exceptions before starting out on their journey.
Penalties for Violating Florida’s Child Car Seat Laws
Florida’s car seat laws exist to keep its youngest residents as safe as possible on the road. So, when police officers catch parents ignoring their legal obligations, they have the authority to penalize them.
First-time offenders usually receive a fine of $60 as well as 3 points on their driver’s license. However, it is often possible to remove the penalty points by enrolling in and attending a court-approved safety course.
The Miami personal injury lawyers at Lavent Law, PA, are well-versed in all of Florida’s car safety laws. If you have any questions about them, please reach out and schedule a free consultation at our law offices in Miami. We will be more than happy to provide you with all the answers you need.
Types of Child Passenger Safety Seats Available to Florida Parents
There is a wide range of child car seats available on the market that Florida parents and guardians can use to keep their kids safe in the event of a car accident, including:
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), children who have not yet reached the age of two should always travel in a rear-facing car seat. Drivers should always put these devices in the back seat of their vehicle.
When children outgrow the height and weight limits detailed on their rear-facing car seat, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, recommends that they move to a front-facing safety seat instead. They should continue to sit in the back of the vehicle, however.
Authorities typically recommend using front-facing child car seats in conjunction with a harness or safety strap.
When children begin to exceed the limits of their front-facing safety seat, they should upgrade to a booster seat. For most young people, this switch happens around their fourth birthday.
Florida law states that kids should use their booster seats until they turn six. From that point on, they need only use a safety belt.
The American Academy of Pediatrics disagrees with this timeline. It recommends that children should continue to use their booster seats until they are 57 inches tall and can safely use adult seat belts. Most kids reach this milestone when they are about 12 years of age.
Where to Get Help Installing a Child Car Seat in the State of Florida
Child car safety seats can be quite tricky to install correctly. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that parents and guardians do so incorrectly approximately 49 percent of the time – potentially putting their child at risk if they get into a crash while traveling through Florida.
In an effort to lower the number of dangerous car seats on the road, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration makes it easy for drivers to connect with local Child Passenger Safety Technicians. By making an appointment to see one of these professionals, motorists can ensure that they have installed their child’s seat correctly.
To find a technician in their area, parents need only visit the NHTSA website and conduct a quick search. Most locations in Florida have several professionals within driving distance.
Understanding the Dangers of Defective Child Safety Seats
The main goal of every child car seat on the market today is to keep children safe and secure in the event of an accident. However, these devices can only accomplish this feat if they are free of defects and flaws. If there is a problem with the seat, they can be ineffective at best and downright dangerous at worst.
A brief list of the defects most commonly found on child car seats would include:
- Ripped straps
- Faulty adjusters
- Broken frames
- Flammable materials
- Faulty latches
When a safety seat has one or more of these defects, and a collision occurs, the child can become airborne and suffer injuries like:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Eye injuries
If such a nightmare scenario has recently occurred to your child, you might be able to claim compensation from the seat manufacturer. To do so, however, you will need the assistance of a skilled lawyer from Lavent Law, PA, in Miami.
How Lavent Law, PA, Can Help with Your Defective Product Case
Over the years, the product liability lawyers at Lavent Law, PA, have helped countless Miami parents and guardians pursue damages for their injured children – achieving a plethora of favorable outcomes along the way.
When you ask us to assist you with your product liability case, we will:
- Thoroughly investigate the cause of the defect
- Review your case and assess your child’s damages
- Walk you through your legal options
- Discuss your child’s injuries with skilled medical professionals
- Provide you with sound legal advice and guidance
- Search for evidence that may help your child’s case
- Handle your lawsuit’s paperwork load
- Negotiate a settlement deal with the other party’s insurer
- Argue on your behalf in civil court, if necessary
Would you like to have an experienced attorney from Lavent Law, PA, assist you with your product liability case? Then please give us a call and set up a free consultation at our law office in Miami, FL. We have been handling cases of this nature for many years and are more than ready to fight for your family.
Damages Available in Florida Defective Child Car Seat Cases
The amount of compensation available to families whose kids suffer injuries because of defective car safety seats depends on numerous factors, including:
- The cost of the child’s immediate medical care
- The fees associated with the child’s ongoing healthcare needs
- The impact the child’s injury will have on their ability to work
- The mental anguish the family endured because of the injury
- The effect the child’s injury will have on their quality of life
When Lavent Law, PA, represents the parents of injured children, we pursue damages for their:
- Medical bills
- Ongoing care costs
- Loss of earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Do you need a knowledgeable lawyer to help you with your battle for the compensation your family deserves? Then please contact Lavent Law Personal Injury Lawyer in Miami, FL, as soon as you can. Our legal team knows how to win cases like these.
Deadline for Filing Product Liability Lawsuits in Florida
Typically, the statute of limitations for all personal injury and product liability suits in the Sunshine State is four years.
However, when the injured party is a child, the four-year countdown timer does not begin on the date of the accident – as it would in any other case. Instead, it starts on the youngster’s 18th birthday.
If you need a tenacious attorney to help you file a personal injury or product liability lawsuit before your child’s statutory window closes, there is only one place you need to turn – Lavent Law Personal Injury Lawyer. We have the legal experience and knowledge necessary to take on your case.
Need More Details About Florida’s Child Car Seat Laws? Contact a Car Crash Lawyer in Miami, FL Today
Whether you need more information about the state of Florida’s child car seat laws or want to hire an attorney to help you file suit against a negligent manufacturer, you can always count on Lavent Law Personal Injury Lawyer. Our legal team has been working in the industry for years and is always ready to serve our friends and neighbors in Miami. Reach out to us today to set up a free consultation and learn more about our services.