Florida Booster Seat Laws

March 19, 2024

Booster Up! A Guide to Florida’s Child Passenger Safety Laws

Florida keeps kids safe on the road with specific child restraint laws. However, exploring booster seat requirements can be tricky. Here, we’ll break down Florida booster seat law to ensure your little passenger has the proper protection every ride. 

Florida’s booster seat laws might seem confusing at first. This post will clear up the confusion and explain everything you need to know about keeping your precious cargo safe on Florida roads. We’ll cover the age, height, and other requirements for booster seats, and answer any questions you might have about Florida’s child passenger safety laws. So, let’s get your child riding comfortably and safely!

Quick Summary:

  • The Florida Booster Seat Law, found in section 316.613 of the Florida Statutes, outlines that kids up to age five must use a separate carrier, an integrated seat, or a booster seat. Kids six and older can choose to use a booster seat or switch to a regular seat belt for safety.
  • Booster seats are crucial for child safety on the road, especially in Florida where laws mandate their use. They ensure proper seat belt fit for children, reducing the risk of serious internal injuries in a crash by positioning the belt across their chest and hips, like it should for adults.
  • Florida’s booster seat laws focus on child safety but have some exceptions: medical conditions approved by a doctor, and rides in taxis or ride-sharing services where booster seats may be unavailable. For short trips within the same municipality, a lap belt alone may be sufficient, but a booster seat is still recommended for optimal safety.
  • In Florida, law enforcement officers enforce booster seat laws by stopping vehicles if they see children aged 4-8 not using a booster seat or those shorter than 4 feet 9 inches without one. They also intervene if a child is not properly secured in a booster seat.
  • Breaking Florida’s booster seat law can lead to fines, points on your license, or a safety course, but the most important consequence is the risk of an uninjured child in a crash.

What is the Florida Booster Seat Law?

A booster seat helps position a child properly so that the car’s seat belt fits them well. It’s for kids who are too big for car seats but still need extra support before using just a seat belt. 

Florida child car seat laws are governed by section 316.613 Fla. Stat. Below are the basic legal requirements for car seat use:

  • Infants and toddlers from birth through age three must be in a separate carrier device or a manufacturer’s integrated child seat.
  • Children four years old through five years old are to be in a separate carrier device, an integrated child’s seat, or a child’s booster seat.
  • Children 6 years old and older have the option of continuing to use a booster seat or begin using a regular seat belt.

Why are Booster Seats Important?

Every parent wants their child to be safe on the road.  Florida’s booster seat laws play a crucial role in achieving this goal. But why are booster seats so important?

Standard seat belts are designed for adults, not children. 

A child’s body proportions are different, and a regular seat belt might not fit them properly. In a crash, the belt could ride up on their stomach, causing serious internal injuries.

Booster seats bridge the gap

They elevate your child, ensuring the seat belt sits across their strongest bones – the chest and hips – just like it should for adults. This significantly reduces the risk of injuries in a collision.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), over 500 children under the age of 10 were injured in Florida car accidents in 2022. Proper child restraint use can reduce the risk of serious injury by up to 80% for children aged 4 to 8. Investing in a booster seat is a small price to pay for your child’s safety.

Are There Any Exceptions on Florida’s Booster Seat Laws?

Florida prioritizes child safety on the road with specific booster seat regulations. There are a few limited situations where a booster seat might not be required:

  • Medical Emergency: If a child is experiencing a medical emergency, they are exempt from being secured in a restraint system. In such critical situations, immediate medical attention takes precedence over booster seat requirements.
  • Medical or Mental Disability: Children with specific medical or mental disabilities that make the use of a booster seat hazardous can be exempt. However, this exemption requires certification by a licensed physician. The child’s condition must be documented to ensure their safety while traveling in a vehicle.

Even if your child meets the age or height exemption, it’s strongly recommended to keep them in a properly fitted booster seat until they can comfortably fit in an adult seat belt. A booster seat positions the seat belt across the child’s chest and hips, providing better protection in case of a crash.

How are Booster Seat Laws Enforced in Florida?

While Florida prioritizes child safety, it’s important to understand the consequences of not following the booster seat laws. Law enforcement officers have the authority to pull you over if they observe a child passenger who appears to be violating the booster seat requirements. This could happen if they see a child who:

  • Is within the required age range (4-8 years old) and not using a booster seat.
  • Is shorter than 4 feet 9 inches and not using a booster seat.
  • Is improperly secured in a booster seat (harness loose, not positioned correctly, etc.)

Are There Any Penalties For Not Following the Booster Seat Law?

Violating Florida’s child restraint laws, including booster seat regulations, is considered a moving violation.  Here’s what you might face if caught:

  • Fine: A ticket for not properly restraining a child can result in a fine of up to $60.
  • Points: Three points will be added to your driver’s license. This can lead to increased insurance premiums.
  • Court-approved course: In some cases, the court may offer the option to attend a child safety course instead of paying the fine and receiving points.

The main purpose of these laws is to ensure your child’s safety.  The penalties are secondary to the potential consequences of a car accident where a child is not properly restrained.

Work With Our Car Accident Attorneys in Coral Springs, FL

Florida booster seat laws mandate specific requirements for the use of booster seats based on the age and size of the child. While there are some exceptions, using a booster seat is always the recommended choice until your child can fit comfortably and safely in an adult seat belt.

While car accident attorneys typically wouldn’t be directly involved with enforcing booster seat laws, there are situations where their experience might be relevant in Coral Springs, FL. Our lawyers at the Law Office of Andrew G. Rosenberg, P.A. can help if you’ve been a victim of negligence. We’ll assist you in holding them accountable and getting the compensation you deserve.

Our personal injury lawyers provide personalized service to each of our clients and extend legal guidance in various practice areas, including motorcycle and truck accidents, slips and falls, and even estate administration concerns. Schedule a free consultation with our Coral Springs attorneys today.  

While our lawyers are here to assist in legal situations, the best outcome is always preventing an accident in the first place. Following Florida’s booster seat laws is a crucial step in keeping your child safe on the road. By prioritizing proper child restraint, you can create happy memories with every journey.

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