Thousands of children are involved in motor vehicle accidents in Florida each year. During 2019, there were 127,285 children involved in traffic crashes in Florida. At least 1,361 children sustained serious injuries, and 142 children died from the car accident. 

The leading cause of death for children is injury due to transportation, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The highest death rates occurred when the children were passengers in motor vehicles in traffic.

Florida’s booster seat and car seat laws are intended to reduce the risk of death and severe injury to minors involved in traffic accidents.

What are the Current Florida Car Seat Laws?

Florida’s car seat laws are based on the age of the child. Children should ride in a rear seat until at least 12 years of age to reduce the injury from an airbag deploying during a crash. 

Florida requires that all minors under the age of 18 years must use a safety restraint based on the child’s age. The law is a primary enforcement law. A police officer can stop and ticket you for a violation of the child safety restraint law and no other reason. 

Children five years of age and under must be placed in a crash-tested, federally approved child safety restraint device. 

Children between the ages of birth to three years must ride in a separate child restraint carrier. They can also ride in a child seat integrated into the vehicle by the manufacturer. Between the ages of four and five years, the child must ride in a separate carrier, vehicle integrated child seat, or booster seat.

Between the ages of six and 17 years, children may ride in the vehicle with a seat belt. 

There are some exceptions to Florida’s car seat laws. For example, there are exceptions for children with medical conditions that prevent them from riding in a car seat. However, parents must have written documentation from a healthcare professional present at all times should law enforcement request to review the documentation. 

Also, there are certain exceptions related to emergencies and some vehicles. The booster seat law may not apply if someone else is giving your child a ride without pay.

Even though there are some exceptions to the car seat laws, having your child restrained securely in an appropriate car seat can significantly reduce the chance of injury in a car accident, truck crash, or other motor vehicle accident. 

Car Seat Recommendations 

Florida’s laws are very clear. Parents and caregivers can face tickets and fines for violating child seat laws. However, federal guidelines and guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics are more stringent. 

The NHTSA has detailed explanations of various car seats and recommendations for using car seats and boosters on its website. Parents can also obtain additional information about car seat safety from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The AAP recommends that children ride in a rear-facing car seat until they outgrow it based on the manufacturer’s guidelines. When a child outgrows the rear-facing safety seat, they should ride in a forward-facing safety seat until they outgrow it based on the manufacturer’s guidelines. Only then should the child transition into a booster seat. 

Children Can Sustain Serious Injuries in a Car Accident

Even when a child is secured in a safety seat, the child can sustain traumatic and catastrophic injuries in a car wreck. Children may suffer from brain injuries, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries.

Injuries to children from a traffic accident can have long-term consequences. In addition to the immediate pain and suffering, a child could sustain permanent impairments or disabilities that impact the child’s life. A child could experience developmental delays, cognitive delays, and psychological disorders because of a car accident injury.

In some cases, a child might never fully recover from the insurance caused by an accident. 

Parents must take steps to protect their child’s legal rights after an automobile accident. Children are entitled to compensation for injuries they sustain in a collision. Your child might be entitled to receive compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, medical treatment, and personal care.

However, if your child’s injury impacts his future, he may also be entitled to compensation for a variety of other damages. Damages in a childhood injury case can also include future damages for decreased earning potential, loss of income, permanent disabilities, long-term care, ongoing pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.

Working with a personal injury attorney familiar with childhood injury cases can be helpful. Your focus is on your child’s health and wellbeing. Your lawyer focuses on your child’s legal rights and focuses on recovering the maximum compensation for your child from the negligent party who injured your child.