Child seat safety laws differ in each state; however, the one common thread is that they all mandate keeping children safe while riding in a vehicle. The child restraint law in Florida is and always has been a primary law meaning that an officer can stop and ticket a driver for the sole reason of failing to have a child strapped in a seat belt or car seat. By not obeying car seat laws, you risk the safety of your child and face a possible fine.
Infants in Florida must ride in a rear-facing, federally approved child safety seat. The safest place in your car for a child is in the middle of the back seat, especially if your car has a front passenger-side airbag. Your child should sit in a semi-upright position at an angle of at least 45 degrees while in her car seat. An infant must stay in a rear-facing seat until the age of 1 year and until she weighs 20 pounds or more.
1 to 3 Years
When your child outgrows his rear-facing seat, he can ride in a forward-facing seat or in a factory-installed integrated seat, according to Florida regulations. He should sit in an upright position with the seat belt harness securing the seat.
Check the label on the car seat for the manufacturer-recommended height and weight ranges to ensure your child has the correct-size seat. Do not move your child into a larger car seat too soon. If your child does not fit securely in his car seat, the seat is unsafe.
4 to 5 Years
When your child reaches 4 years of age, she has probably outgrown her forward-facing seat and she can ride in an integrated child safety seat, a booster seat or use the seat belt alone. If your child weighs 40 to 80 pounds and stands under the 4-foot-9-inch height limit, Florida law states that she must ride in a booster seat. When she graduates to a seat belt, the lap belt, and shoulder belt must fit correctly. A proper-fitting seat belt will rest over the upper thighs and across the chest.
Violation of the Law
Florida drivers are legally responsible for ensuring that children they transport are securely strapped into a seat belt or car seat. Violators of the child restraint law are subject to a $60 fine and three points off their license. In place of the fine and point penalty, the court may order the violator to attend and successfully complete a child restraint offenders program.