As a parent, you want to protect your children. However, 607 child passengers aged 12 and younger died, and 63,000 were injured in car accidents in 2020. Placing your child in a proper child restraint system can help save their life. Part of this process is knowing where your child should be seated in your car. 

Here, we explain when your child can safely sit in the front seat of the car and Florida laws on child safety seats

Safety of the Back Seat

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the back seat is usually the safest position in the vehicle and recommends keeping your child in the middle of the back seat whenever possible. The CDC recommends buckling all children 12 and younger in this location. It also warns that airbags can kill children riding in the front seat. 

CDC Recommendations For Child Safety Seats

The CDC offers the following recommendations for children in the car:

  • Use a rear-facing seat from birth until the age of two to four. The child should remain rear-facing until they reach the maximum height or weight limit. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. 
  • Use a forward-facing car seat when your child outgrows the rear-facing seat until your child is at least five years old. The forward-facing seat should have a harness and top tether. Keep your child in the forward-facing car seat until they reach the maximum height or weight limit.  
  • Use a booster seat after your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat until they can fit a seat belt properly. The booster seat should be placed in the back seat and be used with a seat belt. 
  • Use a seat belt when your child can fit a seat belt properly and has outgrown the booster seat, usually between nine and twelve years. Vehicles fit differently, so your child may still need a booster seat in one vehicle but not another. 
  • Use a seat belt on every trip. 

These recommendations are more stringent than Florida law, but they are made to protect your child’s health and safety. 

Florida Child Seat Laws For Different Age Groups

Florida’s laws and recommendations for child seat laws for different age groups are described below:

Children Under Age 2 

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) says that a rear-facing car seat is best for children under age 2. Infant-only seats are only rear-facing, but convertible seats may start as rear-facing and then allow you to switch the seat to forward-facing or even as a booster seat later on. 

Children Aged 2 To 3 

Florida law requires that any child safety seat be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat. The FLHSMV says that children should remain in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible, which is when they reach the height or weight limits allowed by the seat’s manufacturer. 

Children Aged 4 To 5 

Children aged four to five can use a separate carrier, integrated child seat, or child booster seat under Florida law. Once your child outgrows their car seat, they can move to a booster seat. 

Children Older Than 5

The FLHSMV says that a child should remain in a booster seat until they are big enough to fit the seat belt properly. This is when the lap belt fits snugly over the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt fits snugly across the shoulder. 

Extra Help with Child Safety Seat Installation and Fitting 

Florida has various fitting stations across the state to help ensure that your child’s seat is the proper type and installed correctly. You can also look for a National Child Passenger Safety Certification specialist or event. 

If your child was injured in a car accident, reach out to an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer for assistance. 

Contact the Florida Car Accident Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a Car Accident lawyer in Florida. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.

We serve throughout Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Pasco County, and its surrounding areas:

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 787-2500

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
(727) 591-5610

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
(813) 686-7588

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655
(727) 815-8442