Are children required to have a car seat in Florida?
What type of car seat should you use per age group?
What about seat belts for adults? Is it required to wear one?
We’re going to answer these questions and more here.
Today, we’re going to tell you everything you should know about Florida car seat laws. Not only that, we’ll also talk about the seat belt laws, penalties for breaking these laws, and more.
So buckle up and let’s go!
What is the Florida Seat Belt Laws?
Let’s start with seatbelt laws.
By law, these are the people who are required to wear seatbelts:
- The driver of the vehicle
- Front seat passengers
- Back seat passengers who are 18 years old and below
It’s not enough to just wear a seatbelt — you have to wear it properly. We’ll discuss how to properly wear your seatbelt below.
Now, if you are above 18 years old and are riding in the back seat, you’re not required to wear a seatbelt. However, the DMV encourages you to still wear one in case an accident happens.
Seatbelts are for your safety after all.
What are the Florida Car Seat Laws?
If seatbelts are required, then the use of car seats is even more important.
Car seats prevent serious injuries from happening to babies and toddlers. It also lets them stay in one place and not roam around the vehicle.
Unfortunately, Florida doesn’t specify the child’s weight requirements for a car seat, but it does state this:
“If the child is 5 years of age or younger, provide protection for the child by properly using a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device.”
Florida law further elaborates by saying the following:
- For children up to 3 years old: a separate restraint device or the vehicle’s manufactured integrated child seat is required
- For children 4-5 years old: a separate restraint device, a vehicle’s integrated child seat, or a booster seat may be used
- For children 6 years old and above: no longer need car seats. However, it’s recommended that they sit at the back. By law, they’re required to wear seatbelts at all times.
What are the Car Seat Penalties in Florida?
Despite being proven to help save the lives of passengers, many fail to follow the seatbelt and car seat laws of the state.
So, in the hopes of discouraging people to violate these laws, Florida created penalties for certain violations.
For those who are not wearing seatbelts, you can be fined $30. For children 5 years old and younger who are not in car seats, the fine is $60.
Now, you might think, “that isn’t so bad.”
However, you will also receive 3 demerit points to your driver’s license. Plus, a court can send you to a child restraint safety program.
But the worst penalty is if something happens to you or your child.
Another thing you should note is that car seat and seatbelt laws in Florida are primary enforcements. This means that you can be stopped by the police if they spot you without, or not properly using, a seatbelt or car seat.
Are there Car Seat Exemptions in Florida?
Are there any exemptions to car seat laws in Florida?
What about seatbelt laws?
The answer is yes.
Let’s look at these.
Car Seat Law Exemptions in Florida
Not all vehicles are required to have car seats when there are children. Here are instances and vehicles that don’t require car seats:
- A school bus
- A bus used for the transportation of persons for compensation, other than a school bus
- A farm tractor, or implements of husbandry
- A truck having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds
- A motorcycle, a moped, a bicycle, or an electric bicycle
So in general, you can assume that all other vehicles not included in the list above need to have a car seat appropriate for the age of a child.
Seatbelt Law Exemptions in Florida
If a doctor has certified that a person has a medical condition that may get worse with a seatbelt, then that person is exempted from wearing one. Yes, this is regardless of your age, child or adult.
Needless to say, the medical certificate provided by the doctor should always be presented to the officer that might stop you due to improper or non-use of seatbelts.
Other people exempted from wearing a seatbelt inside a vehicle are the following:
- Newspaper delivery employee who’s tasked to deliver newspapers
- People riding buses that are used for public transportation
- Those riding or driving farm equipment
- Passengers of trucks that have a net weight of more than 26,000 pounds
How to Properly Use a Seatbelt
As we mentioned, it’s not enough to just wear a seatbelt. You’re required to wear it PROPERLY. Since that’s the case, let’s see the proper way how to wear it.
All seatbelts have two harnesses – one for the shoulders and one for the hip area.
The right way to wear a seatbelt is when the shoulder strap is secured snuggly across your shoulders, while the hip strap is across your pelvic area.
Wearing just one strap is incorrect and you can be stopped by a police enforcer for doing so.
Now, there are cases when the seatbelt is too tight. If so, you can contact your car manufacturer and request to have your seatbelts adjusted.
What about pregnant women? How can they properly wear seatbelts?
The shoulder strap has to be across the chest and the hip strap should be placed under the belly, right over the pelvic bone.
The Right Way to Use a Car Seat
Although Florida doesn’t specify whether you should use a rear-facing or a front-facing car seat, they do mention that you should follow the car seat’s manufacturer’s instructions.
The child or toddler should be placed right in the center of the car seat with their back, neck, and head resting on the cushion.
The shoulder straps of the car seat should be placed over the shoulders or slightly above it. If it’s too loose, you can tighten it so it feels snug on your baby.
Now you know everything you need to know about the Florida car seat laws.
Remember, using car seats and wearing seatbelts prevent you and your loved ones from serious injury during car crashes. It’s no doubt that they help save lives.
To be safe and to avoid penalties, always obey the Florida car seat and seatbelt laws. It’s so easy and you will never regret it.
Be a responsible driver!